Purpose: Since the introduction of PSA testing for CaP, there has been an increase in CaP detection. However, it is uncertain to what extent clinically insignificant tumors are being diagnosed and treated. In a large, community based population we determined the pathological characteristics of screening detected cancers.
Materials and methods: From 1989 to 2001, 35,661 men were enrolled in a longitudinal prostate cancer screening study. Data were available on 3,492 of the 3,568 men (98%) diagnosed with CaP during this study period. Radical prostatectomy was performed in 2,254 men (63%). Clinical stage, Gleason score and pathological analysis were recorded and analyzed in the context of preoperative PSA, digital rectal examination findings, PSA velocity and the year of cancer detection.
Results: CaP was detected in 10% of men. Virtually all cases were clinically localized (99.8%) and approximately 70% treated with radical prostatectomy were pathologically organ confined disease. Fewer than 10% of tumors would be considered clinically insignificant based on 2 previously published pathological criteria.
Conclusions: Compared to the high prevalence of CaP found in autopsy studies there is a lower detection rate using current screening protocols. Although the outcomes are unknown if these tumors had been left untreated, the majority met pathological criteria for significant cancer.