Context Men with localized prostate cancer and a preoperative prostate-specific
antigen (PSA) velocity greater than 2.0 ng/mL per year experience a 10-fold
increase in prostate cancer–specific mortality despite surgery.
Objective To assess whether a greater than 2.0-ng/mL increase in PSA level during
the year prior to diagnosis was significantly associated with prostate cancer–specific
mortality following radiation therapy (RT).
Design, Setting, and Patients Between January 1, 1989, and December 1, 2002, 358 men treated with
RT for localized prostate cancer formed the study cohort (median age at treatment,
71.2 [range, 43.2-83.5] years). A Cox regression multivariable analysis was
used to evaluate whether a PSA velocity greater than 2.0 ng/mL per year was
significantly associated with prostate cancer–specific mortality and
all-cause mortality after controlling for prognostic factors available at
Main Outcome Measure Time to prostate cancer–specific mortality for the 125 men with
low-risk prostate cancer (clinical tumor category T1c or T2a and PSA level
<10.0 ng/mL and Gleason score ≤6) and the 233 men with higher-risk disease,
stratified by the PSA velocity.
Results A PSA velocity greater than 2.0 ng/mL per year was significantly associated
with a shorter time to prostate cancer–specific mortality (adjusted
hazard ratio [HR], 12.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.0-54.0; P = .001) and all-cause mortality (adjusted HR, 2.1; 95%
CI, 1.3-3.6; P = .005) when compared with
men whose PSA velocity was 2.0 ng/mL per year or less. Men presenting with
low-risk disease and a PSA velocity greater than 2.0 ng/mL per year had a
7-year estimate of prostate cancer–specific mortality of 19% (95% CI,
2%-39%) compared with 0% for men whose PSA velocity was 2.0 ng/mL per year
or less. The corresponding values for men with higher-risk disease were 24%
(95% CI, 12%-37%) and 4% (95% CI, 0%-11%), respectively.
Conclusions A greater than 2.0-ng/mL increase in PSA level during the year prior
to diagnosis is associated with a significantly higher risk of death due to
prostate cancer following RT despite having low-risk disease. Such men who
are planning to undergo RT and are in good health could be considered for
RT combined with androgen suppression therapy because this approach improves
survival in men with higher-risk disease.