A single PSA measurement taken during middle age can strongly predict the later diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer in African-American men up to 12 years later. While most prostate cancers are dormant and not life-threatening, it’s the aggressive ones that are life-threatening. PSA, which stands for prostate-specific antigen, is measured in a blood test.
Researchers identified 197 African-American men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer about a decade after enrolling in a major study of men and women in 12 southern states. When the 197 men joined the study, they were aged 40 to 64, had not been diagnosed with cancer, and had their PSA levels tested. The 91 diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer and the 106 with non-aggressive cancer were compared with similar men in the study who had not been diagnosed with this cancer.
All 36 cases of aggressive cancer in men aged 40-54 occurred among those with baseline PSA levels above the median, as did 52 of the 55 cases in men aged 55 to 64.
“Midlife PSA predicts subsequent development of aggressive prostate cancer better than either family history or race,” said one of the researchers.
See: “Early PSA testing could help predict prostate cancer among black men” by Matthew Stenger on the American Society of Clinical Oncology website (2018)