A prostate-specific antigen doubling time of <6 months is prognostic for metastasis and prostate cancer-specific death for patients receiving salvage radiation therapy post radical prostatectomy

Radiat Oncol. 2013 Jul 8;8:170. doi: 10.1186/1748-717X-8-170.


Background: The ideal prostate-specific antigen (PSA) doubling time (PSADT) threshold for identifying patients at high-risk for poor clinical outcome following salvage radiation therapy (SRT) has not been well established. We sought to assess what PSADT threshold is most clinically prognostic in this setting.

Methods: 575 patients who received SRT at a single institution for biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy were retrospectively reviewed. We assessed the impact of pre-SRT PSADT on biochemical failure (BF), distant metastasis (DM), prostate cancer-specific mortality (PCSM), and overall mortality (OM). Kaplan-Meier methods, hazard ratio (HR) assessment, and Cox Proportional Hazard models were used to assess the discriminatory ability of various PSADT thresholds.

Results: Sufficient data to calculate PSADTs were available for 277 patients. PSADT was prognostic for BF, DM, PCSM, and OM on univariate analysis regardless of threshold. HR assessment identified 6 months as a strong threshold. No statistically significant difference was observed in BF, DM, PCSM, or OM between patients with PSADT <3 (n=40) and 3-6 months (n=61) or between 6-10 (n=62) and >10 months (n=114). However significant differences were seen in BF (HR:2.2, [95%CI: 1.4-3.5], p<0.01) and DM (HR:2.2, [95%CI: 1.2-4.3], p=0.02) between a PSADT of 3-6 and 6-10 months. On multivariate analysis a PSADT <6 months predicted BF (HR:2.0, [95%CI: 1.4-2.9], p=0.0001), DM (HR:2.0, [95%CI: 1.2-3.4], p=0.01), and PCSM (HR:2.6, [95%CI: 1.1-5.9], p=0.02).

Conclusions: A pre-SRT PSADT <6 months was a strong predictor of outcomes in our data set, including PCSM. The most common nomogram for SRT uses a 10-month PSADT threshold for assigning points used to assess BF following SRT. If validated, our findings suggest that a PSADT threshold of <6 months should be considered for stratification of patients in future clinical trials in this setting.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prognosis
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood*
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Salvage Therapy / methods*
  • Salvage Therapy / mortality*


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen