Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Prostate Cancer Test 'Bounce' No Worry

Temporary Rise and Fall in PSA Levels After Radiation Does Not Affect Survival
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 8, 2006 (Philadelphia) - Men who have a temporary rise on a common prostate test after radiation therapy for prostate cancer fare as well as those who don't exhibit the rise, according to the largest, longest study of its kind.

They are no more likely to die in the next 10 years than patients whose levels do not go up and down, according to the study.

Also, the study found, the prostate cancer is no more likely to return in men who have the rise in prostate specific antigen (PSA) -- the so-called PSA bounce -- than in those who do not, says researcher Eric Horwitz, MD, clinical director of the radiation oncology department at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Horwitz's study looked at more than 7,500 prostate cancer patients treated with radiation.

Increased levels of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate, may be a sign of prostate cancer.

But in men who have radiation treatment for prostate cancer, a temporary rise and fall in PSA levels is common. It affects up to half of patients, Horwitz says.

Horwitz tells WebMD the new findings are "a huge deal" for both doctors and men with prostate cancer. Patients typically become extremely anxious and may even have unnecessary chemotherapy or hormone treatment if they have a temporary rise in PSA.

Robert J. Cole, MD, a prostate cancer specialist at the Cancer Center in Morristown, N.J., who was not involved with the study, agrees.

"This is another nail in the coffin for the PSA bounce," he says. "We can point to this landmark study and tell patients that 7,532 men were examined and the PSA bounce did not have any impact on the curability or the success rate of the treatment. That's pretty impressive."

Horwitz's study was presented at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's annual meeting being held in Philadelphia.

Survival, Risk of Spread Not Affected

The researchers studied men who were treated with either external beam radiation therapy or radiation seed implants.

In external beam radiation therapy, a beam of high-dose radiation is aimed at the prostate to kill cancer cells.

Today on WebMD

man with doctor
Symptoms, risks, treatments
man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore
prostate cancer cells
What does this diagnosis mean?
doctor and male patient
Is it worth it?
cancer fighting foods
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
Prostate Enlarged
Picture Of The Prostate
Prostate Cancer Quiz
screening tests for men
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Vitamin D