WEDNESDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Fresh on the heels of a similar report released earlier this week, a new study shows that men who have a low prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level at 60 do not really need future screening.
Conversely, men with a high PSA reading -- 2 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) or above -- should be monitored and have an increased risk of developing the disease, the researchers added.
"If you have a low PSA at age 60 you are unlikely to benefit from any subsequent PSA test, because your risk of metastasis or death from prostate cancer is extremely low," said lead researcher Dr. Hans Lilja, an attending research clinical chemist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
Many studies that have reached the same conclusion have not followed the men long enough to determine whether or not additional screening has a benefit. This study, however followed the men for 25 years, until they reached 85, Lilja said.
Interestingly, the researchers measured PSA from frozen blood samples. "This is pretty unique," he said.
The report is published in the Sept. 14 online edition of the BMJ.
For the study, Lilja's team looked at blood samples from almost 1,200 men who were born in 1921. Between 1981 and 1982, these men had blood samples taken and frozen as part of the Malmo Preventive Project in Sweden. The men were followed until they reached age 85 or died.
The team found that PSA at age 60 was a good predictor of which men were at risk for prostate cancer.
The group found that of the 126 men diagnosed with prostate cancer, 90 percent of deaths from the cancer were among the 25 percent of men with the highest PSA levels when they were 60.
According to the study, men with a PSA level above 2 ng/ml at 60 may be at increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer and should be screened regularly.
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