Extended follow up needed to establish full impact of screening.
ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands (15 March 2012)
The long-running European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) today (15 March 2012) published its 11-year follow-up results. These add weight to their original findings by confirming that screening does significantly reduce death from prostate cancer. Appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study finds that a man who undergoes PSA testing will have his risk of dying from prostate cancer reduced by 29%.
By extending the patient follow-up to an average of 11 years, the study shows that 31% fewer men than previously indicated would need to be diagnosed with cancer to save one life.
As Prof Fritz Schroeder, the international coordinator of the ERSPC study, explained: “Extending the follow up period strengthens the argument for screening. But it does not decide it. Even so, the risk reduction trend in our study is promising and it is imperative that we continue the follow-up. So far, only about 30% of all men in the study have died. If a larger reduction of prostate cancer mortality is seen by further extending the study beyond the current median of 11 years, we can determine with greater certainty whether the benefit of screening outweighs the disadvantages.”