publication date: May. 11, 2018

PSA test gets a better grade from USPSTF—it’s a “C” Uncertainty lingers about high-risk groups

By Paul Goldberg

Relying largely on maturing data from the European trials of screening for prostate cancer, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has given a better grade—a “C”—to screening for prostate cancer.

An earlier version of the screening guideline, published in 2012, gave PSA a “D,” as in “don’t.”

The updated guideline, published May 8, gives a “C” to screening men between ages 55 and 69. Screening men who are 70 or older gets a “D.”

By relying on new data to acknowledge that PSA screening makes sense for some men, provided that they have gone through shared decision-making with their doctors, USPSTF guidelines are now largely consistent with the guidelines of other major organizations.

“I think that the thirteen-year follow up from the European trial compared to the 10 year, which is what we had in 2012, was critical to moving to the ‘C’ recommendation,” said Alex Krist, a USPSTF member, professor of family medicine and population health at Virginia Commonwealth University, a clinician at the Fairfax Family Practice, and co-director of the Virginia Ambulatory Care Outcomes Research Network. “With the extended extra three years of follow-up, we found that more lives were saved by screening.

“It was only a small increase, it went from 1.07 per thousand screened to 1.27 men not dying from prostate cancer,” Krist said to The Cancer Letter. “While that is a small change, it was just 3 more years. If you think about screening men from ages 55 to 69 and then the fact that many of those men will live into their 80’s, it gave the task force some confidence that for men who choose to be screened, a few of … Continue reading PSA test gets a better grade from USPSTF—it’s a “C” Uncertainty lingers about high-risk groups

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