Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing of men in UK general practice: a 10-year longitudinal cohort study

Published on Oct 30, 2017in BMJ Open2.38
· DOI :10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017729
Grace J. Young5
Estimated H-index: 5
(UoB: University of Bristol),
Sean Harrison8
Estimated H-index: 8
(UoB: University of Bristol)
+ 10 AuthorsChris Metcalfe43
Estimated H-index: 43
(UoB: University of Bristol)
Objectives Cross-sectional studies suggest that around 6% of men undergo prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing each year in UK general practice (GP). This longitudinal study aims to determine the cumulative testing pattern of men over a 10-year period and whether this testing can be considered equivalent to screening for prostate cancer (PCa). Setting, participants and outcome measures Patient-level data on PSA tests, biopsies and PCa diagnoses were obtained from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) for the years 2002 to 2011. The cumulative risks of PSA testing and of being diagnosed with PCa were estimated for the 10-year study period. Associations of a man’s age, region and index of multiple deprivation with the cumulative risk of PSA testing and PCa diagnosis were investigated. Rates of biopsy and diagnosis, following a high test result, were compared with those from the programme of PSA testing in the Prostate Testing for Cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) study. Results The 10-year risk of exposure to at least one PSA test in men aged 45 to 69 years in UK GP was 39.2% (95% CI 39.0 to 39.4%). The age-specific risks ranged from 25.2% for men aged 45–49 years to 53.0% for men aged 65–69 years (p for trend Conclusion A high proportion of men aged 45–69 years undergo PSA tests in UK GP: 39% over a 10-year period. A high proportion of these tests appear to be for the investigation of lower urinary tract symptoms and not screening for PCa. Trial registration number ISRCTN20141297,NCT02044172.
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