24 August 2022

American research suggests regular PSA tests reduce mortality

Annual screening based on PSA blood tests could significantly reduce the risk of Black men dying from prostate cancer, according to a new study in the prestigious journal JAMA Oncology.

The researchers studied 45,834 American men at intermediate to very high risk of prostate cancer between 2004 and 2017, correlating death rates with screening in the five years before a prostate cancer diagnosis. They found that PSA-based screening generally decreased the risk of prostate cancer specific mortality among both Black and White men – but annual screening specifically had a significant impact on mortality only among Black men, not White men.

The mortality rate was 4.7% for Black patients who had annual screening and 7.3% for Black patients who had some screening, while among White patients the rate was 5.9% for those with annual screening and 6.9% for those with some screening.

“This suggests that annual screening may be particularly important for Black men,” say the authors, from the University of California, San Diego. “Further research is needed to identify appropriate populations and protocols to maximize the benefits of PSA screening.”