An empirical evaluation of guidelines on prostate-specific antigen velocity in prostate cancer detection - Abstract

Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (AJV) and Clinical Chemistry (HL), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY;

Cancer Prevention Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA (CT, CMT); University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (IMT).




The National Comprehensive Cancer Network and American Urological Association guidelines on early detection of prostate cancer recommend biopsy on the basis of high prostate-specific antigen (PSA) velocity, even in the absence of other indications such as an elevated PSA or a positive digital rectal exam (DRE).

To evaluate the current guideline, we compared the area under the curve of a multivariable model for prostate cancer including age, PSA, DRE, family history, and prior biopsy, with and without PSA velocity, in 5519 men undergoing biopsy, regardless of clinical indication, in the control arm of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. We also evaluated the clinical implications of using PSA velocity cut points to determine biopsy in men with low PSA and negative DRE in terms of additional cancers found and unnecessary biopsies conducted. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Incorporation of PSA velocity led to a very small increase in area under the curve from 0.702 to 0.709. Improvements in predictive accuracy were smaller for the endpoints of high-grade cancer (Gleason score of 7 or greater) and clinically significant cancer (Epstein criteria). Biopsying men with high PSA velocity but no other indication would lead to a large number of additional biopsies, with close to one in seven men being biopsied. PSA cut points with a comparable specificity to PSA velocity cut points had a higher sensitivity (23% vs 19%), particularly for high-grade (41% vs 25%) and clinically significant (32% vs 22%) disease. These findings were robust to the method of calculating PSA velocity.

We found no evidence to support the recommendation that men with high PSA velocity should be biopsied in the absence of other indications; this measure should not be included in practice guidelines.

Written by:
Vickers AJ, Till C, Tangen CM, Lilja H, Thompson IM   Are you the author?

Reference: J Natl Cancer Inst. 2011 Feb 24. (Epub ahead of print)
doi: 10.1093/jnci/djr028

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 21350221

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