Screening for prostate cancer: results of the Rotterdam section of the European randomized study of screening for prostate cancer

Monique J Roobol, Ries Kranse, Chris H Bangma, Arno G J L H van Leenders, Bert G Blijenberg, Ron H N van Schaik, Wim J Kirkels, Suzie J Otto, Theo H van der Kwast, Harry J de Koning, Fritz H Schröder
European Urology 2013, 64 (4): 530-9

BACKGROUND: Evidence from randomized trials on the effects of screening for prostate cancer (PCa) on disease-specific mortality accumulates slowly with increasing follow-up.

OBJECTIVE: To assess data on PCa-specific mortality in the Rotterdam section of the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) trial.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A randomized controlled trial with randomization after signed, written informed consent (efficacy trial). In the period 1993-1999, a total of 42 376 men aged 54-74 yr were randomized to a screening arm (S-arm) (n = 21 210 with screening every 4 yr, applying a total prostate-specific antigen [PSA] level cut-off ≥ 3.0 ng/ml as biopsy indication) or a control arm (C-arm) (n = 21 166; no intervention).

OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Number of PCas detected per arm depicted by predefined time periods and prognostic groups. PCa-specific mortality analyses using Poisson regression in age group 55-74 yr at randomization and separately in the predefined age group of 55-69 yr.

RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS: After a median follow-up of 12.8 yr, 19 765 men (94.2%) were screened at least once and 2674 PCas were detected (of which 561 [21.0%] were interval PCas). In the C-arm, 1430 PCas were detected, resulting in an excess incidence of 59 PCas per 1000 men randomized (61 PCas per 1000 in age group 55-69 yr). Thirty-two percent of all men randomized have died. PCa-specific mortality relative-risk (RR) reductions of 20.0% overall (age: 55-74 yr; p = 0.042) and 31.6% (age: 55-69 yr; p = 0.004) were found. A 14.1% increase was found in men aged 70-74 yr (not statistically significant). Absolute PCa mortality was 1.8 per 1000 men randomized (2.6 per 1000 men randomized in age group 55-69 yr). The number needed to invite and number needed to manage were 565 and 33, respectively, for age group 55-74 yr, and 392 and 24, respectively, for age group 65-69 yr. Given the slow natural history of the disease, follow-up might be too short.

CONCLUSIONS: Systematic PSA-based screening reduced PCa-specific mortality by 32% in the age range of 55-69 yr. The roughly twofold higher incidence in the S-arm underlines the importance of tools to better identify those men who would benefit from screening.

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