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PSA Test Has Shortcomings, Study Shows

Value of Prostate Cancer Test Has Eroded Over the Years, Researchers Say; More Biopsies on the Horizon?

Should We Biopsy Everyone? continued...

PSA researcher Andrew Vickers, PhD, tells WebMD that PSA testing is useful in predicting, decades before the fact, which men will develop prostate cancer.

The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center statistician co-authored a study published last month suggesting that a single PSA test taken at age 50 or before is a very strong predictor of who will have prostate cancer up to 25 years later.

Vickers says PSA may be a useful test in young men, to identify those who might benefit from aggressive screening.

"In this study, 50% of the advanced cancers were diagnosed in men in the top 10% of PSA levels in that early screening, and two-thirds of the advanced cancers were seen in the 20% of men with the highest PSAs," he tells WebMD. "This shows that a single PSA prior to age 50 can predict extremely well who will eventually have advanced prostate cancer."

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