Can Delayed Time To Referral To A Tertiary Level Urologist With An Abnormal PSA Level Affect Subsequent Gleason Grade In The Opportunistically Screened Population?
Published 2013 · Medicine
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.