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Prostate Cancer Screening in Men of African Descent: 15-year Results of the Tobago Prostate Cancer Survey



Objective: To compare all-cause-mortality in screening-detected prostate cancer cases versus non-cases after a median 12.2-year follow-up.

Methods: In this prospective, population-based study of 3089 Afro-Caribbean men aged 40–79 years in Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies, all men were screened for prostate cancer (serum prostate specific antigen and/or digital rectal exam) one to three times between 1997 and 2007 and followed for mortality to 2012. Among 502 men diagnosed with prostate cancer, 81 younger men underwent radical retropubic prostatectomy. Minimal treatment was available for older men. Survival curves compared all-cause-mortality in cases versus non-cases within 10-year age groups at first screening.

Results: There were 350 all-cause-deaths over 34 089 person-years of follow-up. All-cause survival curves in men aged 60 years or above at first screening did not diverge between cases and non-cases until after 10–12 years of follow-up (p > 0.36). In contrast, among men first screened at age 50–59 years, survival was lower in cases, with survival curves diverging at seven years (p = 0.003). Survival in men aged 50–59 years who underwent prostatectomy was similar to survival in non-cases (p = 0.63).

Conclusion: Among men aged 60 years or above, the absence of excess all-cause-mortality among screening-detected prostate cancer cases provides argument against the utility of routine prostate cancer screening in this older population of African descent. However, the significantly poorer survival in men aged 50–59 years with screening-detected prostate cancer, compared with screened men without prostate cancer, along with the potential for prostate cancer treatment to improve survival, supports the continuation of prostate cancer screening in this age group, pending further research to assess the risks and benefits.  

12 Aug, 2016
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e-Published: 22 Aug, 2016
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