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Curr Urol Rep. 2010 May;11(3):198-201. doi: 10.1007/s11934-010-0109-5.

Prostate cancer screening: what we have learned from the PLCO and ERSPC trials.

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Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Oregon Health and Sciences University, 3303 SW Bond Avenue, Mail Code CH10U, Portland, OR, 97239, USA.


Two large randomized trials on prostate cancer screening have recently reported their 10-year results with somewhat differing conclusions. The Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening (PLCO) study found a slightly higher risk of a prostate cancer diagnosis in the screening cohort, but no cancer-specific survival advantage was seen for this group. However, the study had widespread screening contamination in the control arm that significantly weakens the study's ability to reach a valid conclusion about the benefits of screening. The European Randomized Study of Screening in Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) was less affected by screening contamination of the control arm, and a cancer-specific survival benefit for the screening arm was seen by 7-8 years (RR, 0.70-0.80). Based on these studies, it is reasonable to conclude that there is a survival benefit for screening, but it may not extend to older men (>75 years) who have undergone prior screening.

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