Prostate specific antigen is a tumor marker, elevated level of which is strongly suggestive of prostate cancer in men. PSA testing is routinely used by doctors to spot early signs of prostate cancer, if any. A new study has now suggested that a different criterion may be needed for establishment of prostate cancer diagnosis in young men and those above 70 years of age.
The researchers from Duke University Medical Center analyzed more than 12,000 medical records of men who presented to the urology clinic and documented the raise of PSA levels. They argue that low threshold levels of the marker need to be set for men under 70.
The existing threshold for PSA velocity (PSAV) is 0.75 ng/ml/yr. A prostate biopsy is strongly indicated in men whose PSA levels increase by a margin of 0.75 in one year. The present study highlights that this may limit the prostate cancer diagnosis in men younger than 70.
The researchers further recommend that the optimal PSAV threshold be set at 0.4ng/l/yr for those under 60 and 0.6 ng/ml/yr for men between 60 and 70 years of age.
'Finding that PSA velocity is more effective when it is age-adjusted is very important, especially since the oldest of the Baby Boomers turn 60 this year. In the past few years, 60 or younger has become the peak age for prostate cancer diagnosis. Using PSAV makes it much more likely that we will detect cancers in men of this age,' concluded Dr. Judd W. Moul, lead author of the study.