Secular Trends in Prostate Biopsy Criteria and Outcomes: The Dartmouth Experience.

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To evaluate trends in prostate biopsy and cancer diagnosis at a center with conservative screening practices in the pre- and post-2012 era. More restrictive prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening guidelines have led to lower rates of screening, biopsy, and diagnosis of prostate cancer. It is not clear, however, how regions with low baseline screening rates (the Lebanon, New Hampshire hospital referral region centered on Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center had the lowest rate of screening among Medicare patients in 2012) have responded to these guidelines.


We retrospectively analyzed patients who underwent prostate biopsy from January 2011 to March 2016. Demographic and clinical characteristics were analyzed by time. Multivariable analysis assessed for factors associated with higher grade cancer.


There were 614 prostate biopsies were performed. PSA at biopsy increased with time (7.2 in 2011 vs 10.1 in 2015, P = .0085); age did not. There was a stable proportion of benign findings; proportions of low-grade disease decreased, whereas intermediate- and high-grade disease increased (2011 vs 2015: 21.1% vs 10.8% Gleason 3 + 3, 32.9% vs 43.3% ≥ Gleason 3 + 4, P = .0454). Factors predictive of higher grade disease included abnormal digital examination (odds ratio [OR] 2.19, P = .0076), higher PSA (OR 1.09, P = .0040), and later biopsy date (OR 1.01, P = .0469).


In an environment of conservative baseline screening practices, there has been a shift in prostate biopsy criteria and outcomes, namely a rising PSA threshold for biopsy and a 50% decrease in the diagnosis of low-grade disease. Additional study is needed to ensure these trends are favorably impacting the quality of care.

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