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Eur Urol. 2008 Sep;54(3):505-16. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2008.06.040. Epub 2008 Jun 20.

Prostate-specific antigen kinetics in clinical decision-making during active surveillance for early prostate cancer--a review.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. r.vandenbergh@erasmusmc.nl



The kinetics of prostate specific antigen (PSA) are generally assumed to be indicative of tumour progression and are therefore used in clinical decision-making in men on active surveillance for early prostate cancer.


This review aims to provide support for exploiting PSA kinetics in an active surveillance setting.


We searched the Medline database and reviewed the evidence on both the relation between PSA kinetics before radical treatment for prostate cancer and outcome, as well as the role of PSA kinetics during active surveillance. Furthermore, the benefits and setbacks of different derivatives of PSA kinetics, minimum required time interval and number of measurements, practical recommendations, and pitfalls of their use in clinical practice are discussed.


The evidence concerning the prognostic value of the PSA velocity (PSA-V) and PSA doubling time (PSA-DT) is sparse, especially in active surveillance. PSA kinetics should therefore be combined with other diagnostic measures as the trigger for deferred radical treatment or repeat prostate biopsies. There seems to be consensus among several reports on the unfavourable outcome relating to a PSA-DT <3-4 yr and on the favourable prognostic value of a PSA-DT >10 yr or a decreasing PSA level. Online tools provide help with calculations and insight on disease development. The best method of calculation, number of measurements, and time interval between measurements is unknown for now.


Despite the current deficits in our understanding of the natural behaviour of early prostate cancer and its relation to serum PSA levels, and despite several secondary factors playing a role in PSA kinetics, PSA kinetics are a practical parameter we can offer men on active surveillance to assess the status of their disease.

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