Research offers mixed results on benefits of PSA testing

The AP reports that new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine “gives mixed results about prostate cancer screening that may do little to change minds about its value.”

Bloomberg News reports that investigators looked at data on more than 160,000 older men in Europe. The researchers found that individuals “who were screened for PSA, a protein associated with the cancer at high levels, had a 21 percent lower risk of dying from the disease than those who weren’t screened.”

However, the investigators reported, in order “to prevent one death from prostate cancer, more than 1,000 men would need to be invited for testing and 37 cancers would need to be detected.”

They also found that “screening for PSA didn’t result in a lower risk of death from any cause over the period of the study.”

MedPage Today reports, “The findings,” from “the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer, contradict those of the NIH-sponsored Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) screening program, which has consistently reported no benefit to using prostate specific antigen (PSA) screening in healthy men.”

WebMD reports that Anthony B. Miller, MD, “one of the PLCO investigators, is critical of the European study.

In an editorial accompanying the” new “report, he suggests that PSA-screened men were more likely to be treated for prostate cancer at academic centers, where they got more state-of-the-art treatment.”

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