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Features of prostate cancers detected during a prevalence screening round. The Rotterdam experience
Departments of Pathology and Urology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands and PATHAN Foundation, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Jun  2005 (Vol.  12, Issue  31, Pages( 16 - 20)


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    Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing of asymptomatic men may lead to the detection of "minimal" prostate cancers that are less likely to be associated with morbidity or mortality.


    To examine the significance of various diagnostic outcomes from needle biopsies of the prostate in an asymptomatic population of men. METHODS: Prostatic needle biopsy findings were matched with those from radical prostatectomy specimens using data from the Rotterdam section of the European Randomized study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC). Men, aged between 55 and 75 years, with elevated PSA levels underwent lateralized sextant needle biopsies. In corresponding radical prostatectomy specimens, the tumor categories (minimal, moderate, or advanced) were determined.


    Prostate cancer was diagnosed in 5.1% of 19,970 screened men, and 31.6 % of the men had cancers that were categorized as "minimal." Repeat biopsies performed after initial diagnoses of either isolated prostatic intra-epithelial neoplasia (PIN) or "suspicious for malignancy," detected adenocarcinoma in 12.1%and 36.5 % of the men, respectively. In a substudy of 510 men with a benign biopsy outcome 12 months previously, repeat biopsies detected adenocarcinoma in 12.4of the men. Of men who were subsequently treated with radical prostatectomy, the cancers were classified as "minimal" in 27.8% of the men with previously benign biopsies and in 47.4% of the men with previously suspicious lesions.


    The chance of finding a "minimal" prostate cancer in an asymptomatic population is substantial and increases when a repeat biopsy is performed following a biopsy with a suspicious outcome.