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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."