Recognizing that the unprecedented increase in new cases of prostate cancer between 1988 and 1996 actually peaked in 1992 and has now returned to baseline, we examined our clinical and histological database for annual trends in 896 consecutive men treated only with radical prostatectomy for clinical stages T1c to T2c from 1988 to 1996.All radical prostatectomy specimens were examined prospectively in 3 mm. step sections by 1 pathologist. Using multiple logistic regression for dichotomous variables and multiple linear regression for continuous variables, both corrected for age, we assessed the annual trends for significant changes in T1c versus T2 clinical stages, preoperative serum prostate specific antigen (PSA), cancer volume, percent Gleason grade 4/5 in the cancer, location of the cancer in the transition or peripheral zone, organ confined status, seminal vesicle invasion, positive surgical margins, prostate weight and presence of clinically insignificant cancers (less than 0.5 cc in volume).There were no significant annual changes in the proportion of percent Gleason grade 4/5 cancer, serum PSA, prostate weight or clinically insignificant cancers less than 0.5 cc, and the annual changes for cancer volume were only of moderate significance. T1c cancers increased from 10% in 1988 to 73% in 1996 (p=0.0001), organ confined cancers from 40 to 75% (p=0.0001) and transition zone cancers from 10 to 21% (p=0.003). Seminal vesicle invasion decreased from 18 to 5% (p=0.001) and positive surgical margins from 30 to 14 (p=0.006). Mean patient age changed from 65 to 62 years (p=0.0001).We believe that the extraordinary rise and fall in prostate cancer detection rates from 1990 to 1994 primarily removed previously undetected T2 cancers from the pool at large, leaving impalpable T1c cancers as the primary reservoir of prostate cancers in the United States. Importantly, cancer volume, percent Gleason grade 4/5 cancer, serum PSA and cancers less than 0.5 cc have not had a highly significant change during these critical 9 years. These data argue strongly that current PSA testing has not resulted in the detection of clinically insignificant cancers, and that PSA screening should be expanded and not restricted.
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View details for PubMedID 9817394