Background: It has been shown that organized screening decreases prostate cancer (PC) mortality, but the effect of opportunistic screening is largely unknown.
Objective: To compare the ability to reduce PC mortality and the risk of overdiagnosis between organized and opportunistic screening.
Design, setting, and participants: The Göteborg screening study invited 10 000 randomly selected men for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing every 2 yr since 1995, with a prostate biopsy recommended for men with PSA ≥2.5 ng/ml. The control group of 10 000 men not invited has been exposed to a previously reported increased rate of opportunistic PSA testing. Both groups were followed until December 31, 2012.
Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Observed cumulative PC incidence and mortality rates in both groups were calculated using the actuarial method. Using historical data from 1990-1994 (pre-PSA era), we calculated expected PC incidence and mortality rates in the absence of any PSA testing. The number needed to invite (NNI) and the number needed to diagnose (NND) were calculated by comparing the expected versus observed incidence and mortality rates.
Results and limitations: At 18 yr, 1396 men were diagnosed with PC and 79 men died of PC in the screening group, compared to 962 and 122, respectively, in the control group. In the screening group, the observed cumulative PC incidence/mortality was 16%/0.98% compared to expected values of 6.8%/1.7%. The corresponding values for the control group were 11%/1.5% and 6.9%/1.7%. Organized screening was associated with an absolute PC-specific mortality reduction of 0.72% (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.50-0.94%) and relative risk reduction of 42% (95% CI 28-54%). There was an absolute reduction in PC deaths of 0.20% (95% CI -0.06% to 0.47%) and a relative risk reduction of 12% (95% CI -5 to 26%) associated with opportunistic PSA testing. NNI and NND were 139 (95% CI 107-200) and 13 for organized biennial screening and 493 (95% CI 213- -1563) and 23 for opportunistic screening. The extent of opportunistic screening could not be measured; incidence trends were used as a proxy.
Conclusions: Organized screening reduces PC mortality but is associated with overdiagnosis. Opportunistic PSA testing had little if any effect on PC mortality and resulted in more overdiagnosis, with almost twice the number of men needed to be diagnosed to save one man from dying from PC compared to men offered an organized biennial screening program.
Patient summary: Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening within the framework of an organized program seems more effective than unorganized screening.
Keywords: Opportunistic; Organized; Overdiagnosis; Prostate cancer; Prostate-specific antigen; Screening.
Copyright © 2014 European Association of Urology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.