PSA Failure After Prostate Cancer Surgery Predicts Mortality Risk Only in Healthy Men

PSA Failure After Prostate Cancer Surgery Predicts Mortality Risk Only in Healthy Men
Researchers found an association between increased levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) -- known as PSA failure -- and a high risk of mortality in healthy patients who had previously received treatment for prostate cancer. But in patients who had another disease, such as history of heart attack or stroke, PSA failure no longer appeared to predict the risk of death. Because physicians sometimes recommend a given treatment based on whether it reduces the rise in PSA levels without knowing whether this is associated with mortality, this finding shows the importance of informing patients of the results of clinical trials, as well as the risks and benefits of a given treatment, before recommending it. The study, “Prostate-Specific Antigen Failure and Risk of Death Within Comorbidity Subgroups Among Men With Unfavorable-Risk Prostate Cancer Treated in a Randomized Trial,” was published by Dr. Nicholas Giacalone, MD, and his colleagues from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. An increase in PSA levels has been widely used as a marker for disease progression in prostate cancer and should decrease after surgery. But in some cases, PSA blood levels increase again, signaling that the cancer has not been cured or that it has returned (recurrence), which prompts patients to look for possible treatments. "Many studies have reported on PSA results after prostate cancer treatment, but they are not mature enough yet to determine if these results translate into prolonged survival," Giacalone said in a
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