Screening for prostate cancer in high risk populations

J Urol. 2002 Nov;168(5):1980-3; discussion 1983-4. doi: 10.1097/01.ju.0000033320.15267.a6.


Purpose: Black men and men with a family history of prostate cancer are at higher risk for this disease and may have an earlier age of onset. Consequently, screening at a younger age has been recommended for high risk men, however, there are limited data on actual screening results in young, high risk populations.

Materials and methods: In men 50 years old or older we compared screening results in 1,224 black men, 1,227 men with a positive family history and 63 men who were both with those of 15,964 nonblack men with no known family history. In high risk men in their forties we also evaluated the percent with abnormal screening tests, the positive predictive value of screening tests, cancer detection rates and the prognostic features of tumors detected.

Results: In men 50 years old or older prostate cancer detection rates were 6.4% for controls compared with 10.3%, 10.5% and 17.5%, respectively, for the high risk groups. Among high risk men screened in their forties 8% had suspicious screening tests and approximately 55% who underwent a biopsy had cancer detected. Of tumors detected 80% were organ confined and all but 1 were of moderate Gleason grade 5 years old or older. Only 1 tumor (7%) fulfilled the published criteria for a possibly harmless cancer.

Conclusions: Black men and men with a family history of prostate cancer are at a 75% to 80% higher risk for prostate cancer. On initial screening of high risk men in their fourth decade only 8% have positive screening tests; however, approximately 55% of these men have tumors, most of which are medically important with favorable prognostic features.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Biopsy
  • European Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mass Screening*
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen