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Can Delayed Time To Referral To A Tertiary Level Urologist With An Abnormal PSA Level Affect Subsequent Gleason Grade In The Opportunistically Screened Population?

F. O'kelly, A. Thomas, D. Murray, David Galvin, D. Mulvin, D. Quinlan
Published 2013 · Medicine

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PURPOSE There is growing conflict in the literature describing the effect of delayed treatment on outcomes following radical prostatectomy. There is also evidence to suggest progression of low-risk prostate cancer to develop higher grades and volumes of prostate cancer during active surveillance. It is unknown as to what affect a delay in referral of those men with abnormal screened-PSA levels have on subsequent Gleason grade. METHODS We identified 350 men through our rapid access prostate clinic who underwent TRUS biopsy for abnormal age-related PSA and/or abnormal clinical examination. Clinicopathological findings were compared for those with positive versus negative TRUS biopsies, and for those with initial delays in referral (<12 months, 12-18 months, and >18 months). We used ANOVA and Student's t-tests amongst other statistical tools to examine significance of clinical findings. RESULTS Of the 350 men who underwent TRUS biopsy, those with a delay in referral of 12 months or more were significantly associated with higher PSA titers, clinically palpable disease and likelihood of diagnosis with prostate cancer. A delay of 18 months or more led to a significantly higher risk of being diagnosed with a leading grade 4 prostate cancer, which was further supported using PSA velocity as a diagnostic tool (change >0.4 ng/ml/year). CONCLUSION We recommend that repeated asymptomatic abnormal age-related PSA readings and/or abnormal clinical examination in the screened population be referred without delay to a urologist for further assessment, enrolment into an active surveillance program or definitive subsequent treatment.
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