A population-based study on the association between educational length, prostate-specific antigen testing and use of prostate biopsies

Scand J Urol. 2016;50(2):104-9. doi: 10.3109/21681805.2015.1113200. Epub 2015 Dec 1.


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine whether educational length affects prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing and the time to prostate biopsy for men with raised PSA values.

Materials and methods: Using register data on all men in Stockholm County in 2013 (n = 1,052,841), the limited-duration point prevalence of PSA testing and time between test and prostate biopsy or repeat testing were analysed. Patterns of follow-up were assessed using Kaplan-Meier product limit estimators and Cox proportional hazard models. Educational length was categorized as short (≤ 9 years), intermediate (10-12 years) or long (≥ 13 years).

Results: PSA testing increased with educational length in all age groups. Among men aged 50-69 years, 61% with long and 54% with short education had had a PSA test within the preceding 10 years (p < 0.001). In men with PSA 4-10 ng/ml, 40% [95% confidence interval (CI) 38-41] with long and 27% (95% CI 26-29) with short education underwent a prostate biopsy within 12 months. After adjusting for PSA level and age, educational length was still associated with the chance of having a prostate biopsy in men with PSA 4-10 ng/ml (hazard ratio 1.22, 95% CI 1.12-1.31), but not in men with higher PSA values.

Conclusion: PSA testing increased with educational length. Men with long education were more likely to have a prostate biopsy after an increased PSA value below 10 ng/ml than men with short education. These differences may contribute to the worse prostate cancer outcomes observed among men with lower socioeconomic status.

Keywords: Diagnosis; epidemiology; population-based studies; prostate cancer; prostate-specific antigen (PSA); socioeconomic status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status*
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Sweden


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen