THE CHANGING PATTERN OF PROSTATE CANCER AT THE TIME OF DIAGNOSIS: CHARACTERISTICS OF SCREEN DETECTED PROSTATE CANCER IN A POPULATION BASED SCREENING STUDY

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Abstract

Purpose

We describe the clinical and pathological features of prostate cancer diagnosed through serum prostate specific antigen (PSA), digital rectal examination and transrectal ultrasonography in a population based randomized screening study.

Materials and Methods

Between November 1993 and June 1997, 20,632 volunteers 55 to 76 years old were included in the study. In the screening arm 9,776 men underwent digital rectal examination, transrectal ultrasound and serum PSA determination. Biopsies were taken if the digital rectal examination and/or transrectal ultrasound findings were abnormal or if PSA was 4 ng./ml. or greater. A total of 2,262 men underwent biopsy and 474 cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed.

Results

The pretreatment data were complete in 459 men, of whom 78% had clinically organ confined disease. Bone or lymph node metastases were seen in 8 cases (1.7%). Of 172 men who underwent radical prostatectomy 2 had lymph node metastases. Overall 66.3% of men treated with radical prostatectomy had organ confined disease.

Conclusions

Comparison of the characteristics of prostate cancer detected through screening of the general population with those in a population based cohort of men in which there was no organized screening revealed stage reduction, primarily with regard to number of metastatic cases. Whether this stage reduction will lead to a decrease in disease specific mortality remains unknown until the study is completed and the end point of prostate cancer specific mortality is evaluated.

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