Article Abstract

Screening for prostate cancer: are organized screening programs necessary?

Authors: Monique J. Roobol


Already in 1991 when the prostate-speci c antigen (PSA) test was proposed as a diagnostic test, screening for prostate cancer (PCa) was considered controversial due to the considerable risk of detecting latent PCa. Randomised controlled trials were initiated to assess the potential of PSA-based screening in reducing disease-speci c mortality. Harms and bene t were closely monitored and both were con rmed. A reduction in mortality was seen and at the same time the initial fear of unnecessary testing and over diagnosis became reality. This triggered professional organizations to adapt their guidelines and to focus on shared decision making (SDM) and selective screening for those men considered at high risk. Unfortunately implementation of guidelines into daily clinical practice is bothersome. As a result many men are being (re) tested while not being at risk and the potential bene t being unclear. This raises the question on whether PSA screening should be organized in controlled programs. While the PSA test will remain the mainstay of PCa early detection many other additional tests (biomarkers/imaging) are currently being tested in large population-based initiatives as a rst step to organized programs in selective groups of men.