Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York and Lund University in Sweden have found that a single prostate specific antigen (PSA) test before the age of 50 can be used to predict aggressive prostate cancer.
Previous studies by the team had found that a single PSA test at age 50 or younger could predict the presence of prostate cancer in men up to 25 years in advance of diagnosis.
They analysed the blood samples of 161 men already diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer by 1999 and men of a similar age who not developed cancer by that time.
The group was a part of a large, population-based study of middle-aged men called the Malmo Preventative Medicine study.
The findings revealed that total PSA level was an accurate predictor of advanced cancer diagnosis in men later in life.
Around 66 percent, of advanced cancers were seen in men whose PSA levels were in the top 20 percent.
"We have found that a single PSA test taken at or before age 50 is a very strong predictor of advanced prostate cancer diagnosed up to 25 years later," said Dr. Hans Lilja, lead author and a clinical chemist with joint appointments in the Departments of Surgery and Medicine at MSKCC.
"This suggests the possibility of using an early PSA test determine which men should be the focus of the most intensive screening efforts," Dr. Lilja added.
The study is published in the online open- access journal BMC Medicine.