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Ann Clin Biochem. 2011 Jul;48(Pt 4):310-6. doi: 10.1258/acb.2011.010273. Epub 2011 Apr 27.

Prostate-specific antigen: does the current evidence support its use in prostate cancer screening?

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. Michael.J.Duffy@ucd.ie

Abstract

Although widely used, the value of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in screening asymptomatic men for prostate cancer is controversial. Reasons for the controversy relate to PSA being less than an ideal marker in detecting early prostate cancer, the possibility that screening for prostate cancer may result in the overdetection and thus overtreatment of indolent disease and the lack of clarity as to the definitive or best treatment for men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer. Although the results from some randomized prospective trials suggest that screening with PSA reduces mortality from prostate cancer, the overall benefit was modest. It is thus currently unclear as to whether the modest benefit of reduced mortality outweighs the harms of overdetection and overtreatment. Thus, prior to undergoing screening for prostate cancer, men should be informed of the risks and benefits of early detection. Newly emerging markers that may complement PSA in the early detection of prostate cancer include specific isoforms of PSA and PCA3.

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