[PSA and follow-up after treatment of prostate cancer]

A Benchikh El Fegoun, A Villers, J-L Moreau, P Richaud, X Rebillard, P Beuzeboc
Progrès en Urologie 2008, 18 (3): 137-44
A first serum total PSA assay is recommended during the first three months after treatment. When PSA is detectable, PSA assay should be repeated three months later to confirm this elevation and to estimate the PSA doubling time (PSADT). In the absence of residual cancer, PSA becomes undetectable by the first month after total prostatectomy: less than 0.1 ng/ml (or less than 0.07 ng/ml) for the ultrasensitive assay method and less than 0.2 ng/ml for the other methods. In the presence of residual cancer, PSA either does not become undetectable or increases after an initial undetectable period. A consensus has been reached to define recurrence as PSA greater than 0.2 ng/ml confirmed on two successive assays. After external beam radiotherapy, PSA can decrease after a mean interval of one to two years to a value less than 1 ng/ml (predictive of recurrence-free survival). Biochemical recurrence after radiotherapy is defined by an increase of PSA by 2 ng or more above the PSA nadir, whether or not it is associated with endocrine therapy. After endocrine therapy, the PSA nadir is correlated with recurrence-free survival. PSA is decreased for a mean of 18 to 24 months followed by a rise in PSA, corresponding to hormone-independence. The time to recurrence or the time to reach the nadir and the PSA doubling time after local therapy with surgery or radiotherapy have a diagnostic value in terms of the site of recurrence, local or metastatic and a prognostic value for survival and response to complementary radiotherapy or endocrine therapy. A PSADT less than eight to 12 months is correlated with a high risk of metastatic recurrence and 10-year mortality. The histological and biochemical characteristics in favour of local recurrence are Gleason score less or equal to seven (3+4), elevation of PSA after a period greater than 12 months and PSADT greater than 10 months. In other cases, recurrence is predominantly metastatic. The risk of demonstrating metastasis in the case of biochemical recurrence after total prostatectomy and before endocrine therapy depends on the PSA level and the PSADT. No consensus has been reached concerning the indication for complementary investigations by bone scan and abdominopelvic CT in patients with biochemical recurrence after treatment of localized cancer without endocrine therapy. However, when PSADT greater than six months, the risk of metastasis is less than 3% even for PSA greater than 30 ng/ml. When PSADT less than six months and PSA greater than 10 ng/ml, the risk of metastasis is close to 50%.

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