Association between PSA kinetics and cancer-specific mortality in patients with localised prostate cancer: analysis of the placebo arm of the SPCG-6 study

Ann Oncol. 2016 Mar;27(3):460-6. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdv607. Epub 2015 Dec 17.


Background: The prognostic value of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) kinetics in untreated prostate cancer (PCa) patients is debatable. We investigated the association between PSA doubling time (PSAdt), PSA velocity (PSAvel) and PSAvel risk count (PSAvRC) and PCa mortality in a cohort of patients with localised PCa managed on watchful waiting.

Patients and methods: Patients with clinically localised PCa managed observationally, who were randomised to and remained on placebo for minimum 18 months in the SPCG-6 study, were included. All patients survived at least 2 years and had a minimum of three PSA determinations available. The prognostic value of PSA kinetics was analysed and patients were stratified according to their PSA at consent: ≤10, 10.1-25, and >25 ng/ml. Cumulative incidences of PCa-specific mortality were estimated with the Aalen-Johansen method.

Results: Two hundred and sixty-three patients were included of which 116, 76 and 71 had a PSA at consent ≤10, 10.1-25, and >25 ng/ml, respectively. Median follow-up was 13.6 years. For patients with PSA at consent between 10.1 and 25 ng/ml, the 13-year risks of PCa mortality were associated with PSA kinetics: PSAdt ≤3 years: 62.0% versus PSAdt >3 years: 16.3% (Gray's test: P < 0.0001), PSAvel ≥2 ng/ml/year: 48.0% versus PSAvel <2 ng/ml/year: 11.0% (Gray's test: P = 0.0008), and PSAvRC 2: 45.0% versus 0-1: 3.8% (Gray's test: P = 0.001). In contrast, none of the PSA kinetics were significantly associated with changes of 13-year risks of PCa mortality in patients with PSA at consent ≤10 or >25 ng/ml.

Conclusion: We found that magnitude changes in 13-year risks of PCa mortality that can be indicated by PSA kinetics depend on PSA level in patients with localised PCa who were managed observationally. Our results question PSA kinetics as surrogate marker for PCa mortality in patients with low and high PSA values.

Clinical trial number: NCT00672282.

Keywords: PSA doubling time; PSA kinetic; PSA velocity; PSA velocity risk count; prostate cancer; survival.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anilides / adverse effects
  • Anilides / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitriles / adverse effects
  • Nitriles / therapeutic use*
  • Placebos / therapeutic use
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood*
  • Prostatectomy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Tosyl Compounds / adverse effects
  • Tosyl Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anilides
  • Nitriles
  • Placebos
  • Tosyl Compounds
  • bicalutamide
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen

Associated data