Distribution of PSA velocity by total PSA levels: data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging

Urology. 2011 Jan;77(1):143-7. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2010.04.068.


Objectives: To describe the distribution and implications of prostate-specific antigen velocity (PSAV) by prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in an unselected population. A PSAV >0.35 and >2.0 ng/mL/y have been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer (CaP) death more than 10 years and 1 year before diagnosis, respectively. It is unknown how frequently PSAVs of this magnitude occur in community men.

Methods: From the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, we examined the PSAV distribution in 786 men with serial PSA measurements (3474 PSAV observations) at total PSA levels <10 ng/mL. We also determined whether PSAV altered the probability of overall and life-threatening CaP at PSA levels <3 and 3-10 ng/mL.

Results: Overall, the mean PSA and PSAV were 1.3 ng/mL and 0.05 ng/mL/y, respectively. PSAV rose continuously with increasing PSA (P <.0001), and was significantly higher in cancers than controls for observations at PSA levels <3 ng/mL (P = .02) and 3-10 ng/mL (P = .0008). The probability of life-threatening CaP was 3% at a PSA <3 ng/mL, but increased to 13.6% with PSAV >0.4 ng/mL/y. At PSA levels of 3-10 ng/mL, the probability of life-threatening CaP was 9.8% based on PSA alone vs 12% with PSAV >0.4 ng/mL/y.

Conclusions: PSAV was significantly higher in CaP observations than controls in all PSA ranges studied and altered the risk of overall and life-threatening CaP at a given PSA level. Because the value of PSAV is PSA-dependent, the PSA level should be taken into account when interpreting PSAV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood*


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen