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Nat Rev Urol. 2010 Sep;7(9):487-93. doi: 10.1038/nrurol.2010.120.

Prostate cancer screening: current status and future perspectives.

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  • 1Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Siteman Cancer Center, 4960 Children's Place, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.


With the publication of the long-term results of two randomized screening trials and updates to screening guidelines from many organizations, the past 2 years have been eventful in the field of prostate cancer screening. Both the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial--which failed to identify a benefit of screening in a community setting--and the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer--which showed a modest benefit to screening in a clinical trial setting--have sought to address the role of screening in reducing mortality from prostate cancer. Epidemiologic evidence supports the role of PSA screening in the stage and grade migration of prostate cancer, but to date the evidence for its role in changing mortality patterns is more equivocal. As a result, little support exists at present among urologic and cancer prevention organizations for population-based PSA screening. Particularly in the USA, where PSA screening has been relatively widespread, reductions in prostate-cancer-specific mortality are likely to be in part related to improvements in treatment, rather than solely to PSA screening. The substantial risk of overdiagnosis and overtreatment of latent prostate cancer means that methods to increase the specificity of prostate cancer screening, and particularly its ability to identify high-risk disease, are essential. Strategies such as the use of 5alpha-reductase inhibitors in high-risk patients, and the continued development of urinary and genetic markers hold promise in this regard.

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