Impact of ultrahigh baseline PSA levels on biochemical and clinical outcomes in two Radiation Therapy Oncology Group prostate clinical trials

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011 Jun 1;80(2):445-52. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.02.034. Epub 2010 Aug 24.


Purpose: To assess ultrahigh (UH; prostate-specific antigen [PSA] levels ≥50 ng/ml) patient outcomes by comparison to other high-risk patient outcomes and to identify outcome predictors.

Methods and materials: Prostate cancer patients (PCP) from two Phase III Radiation Therapy Oncology Group clinical trials (studies 9202 and 9413) were divided into two groups: high-risk patients with and without UH baseline PSA levels. Predictive variables included age, Gleason score, clinical T stage, Karnofsky performance score, and treatment arm. Outcomes included overall survival (OS), distant metastasis (DM), and biochemical failure (BF). Unadjusted and adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated using either the Cox or Fine and Gray's regression model with associated 95% confidence intervals (CI) and p values.

Results: There were 401 patients in the UH PSA group and 1,792 patients in the non-UH PSA PCP group of a total of 2,193 high-risk PCP. PCP with UH PSA were found to have inferior OS (HR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.02-1.39, p = 0.02), DM (HR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.19-1.92; p = 0.0006), and BF (HR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.29-1.73; p < 0.0001) compared to other high-risk PCP. In the UH cohort, PSA level was found to be a significant factor for the risk of DM (HR, 1.01; 95% CI, 1.001-1.02) but not OS and BF. Gleason grades of 8 to 10 were found to consistently predict for poor OS, DM, and BF outcomes (with HR estimates ranging from 1.41-2.36) in both the high-risk cohort and the UH cohort multivariable analyses.

Conclusions: UH PSA levels at diagnosis are related to detrimental changes in OS, DM, and BF. All three outcomes can be modeled by various combinations of all predictive variables tested.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Karnofsky Performance Status
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen