Purpose: We evaluated prostate cancer (PCa) characteristics at diagnosis and changes in prostatic specific antigen (PSA) with time in males with screening detected PCa that was initially managed with a watchful waiting policy.
Materials and methods: Patients with histologically proven PCa and PSA less than 10 ng/ml were selected from the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer, section Rotterdam. The choice of initiating a watchful waiting policy was patient desire or physician advice. PSA slope and PSA doubling time (PSADT) were calculated in patients with 3 or more PSA tests results available.
Results: A total of 191 patients were included. Mean age at diagnosis was 69 years and mean PSA was 3.9 ng/ml. Of the patients 92.6% had a Gleason score of 3 + 3 or lower, 133 had a followup of greater than 12 months (mean 40) and 35 (29.2%) had a negative PSA slope. Mean PSADT was 9.7 years (range 0.3 to 155) in 85 males with a positive PSA slope. During followup 30 patients changed therapy.
Conclusions: Watchful waiting remains a controversial prostate cancer treatment strategy. In select screening detected patients with PCa there appears to be a subgroup with stable or even decreasing PSA values with time. These males could profit from a watchful waiting policy with possible deferred treatment. Together with conventional tumor parameters at diagnosis PSADT and PSA slope during followup could be used to monitor tumor activity and possibly aid in determining the time of deferred treatment. Further followup is mandatory to validate these results.