Study: PSA test decreases death rate from prostate cancer

October 20, 2005

Men who have a yearly PSA test are nearly three times less likely to die from prostate cancer than those who don't have an annual screening, according to a presentation at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology annual meeting in Denver.

Men who have a yearly PSA test are nearly three times less likely to die from prostate cancer than those who don't have an annual screening, according to a presentation at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology annual meeting in Denver. The study's authors, from the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program in Boston, estimate that men who have an annual PSA screening will have a 3.6% chance of dying from the disease, compared with 11.3% in the general population.

The study, which was conducted between 1988 and 2002, involved 1,492 prostate cancer patients who underwent radical prostatectomy and whose cancer recurred. Among the men, 841 had yearly PSA tests before their cancer diagnosis, while 611 men were diagnosed by other methods.

"The PSA blood test is the best simple screening test available for prostate cancer that picks up prostate cancer earlier, while it's still curable," said lead author Jason Efstathiou, MD.

Ongoing randomized trials will further confirm the impact of the PSA test by 2008, researchers say.