Purpose: The relationship between prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level and prostate cancer risk remains subject to fundamental disagreements. We hypothesized that the risk of prostate cancer on biopsy for a given PSA level is affected by identifiable characteristics of the cohort under study. Experimental Design: We used data from five European and three U.S. cohorts of men undergoing biopsy for prostate cancer; six were population-based studies and two were clinical cohorts. The association between PSA and prostate cancer was calculated separately for each cohort using locally weighted scatterplot smoothing. Results: The final data set included 25,772 biopsies and 8,503 cancers. There were gross disparities between cohorts with respect to both the prostate cancer risk at a given PSA level and the shape of the risk curve. These disparities were associated with identifiable differences between cohorts: for a given PSA level, a greater number of biopsy cores increased the risk of cancer (odds ratio for >6- versus 6-core biopsy, 1.35; 95% confidence interval, 1.18-1.54; P < 0.0005); recent screening led to a smaller increase in risk per unit change in PSA (P = 0.001 for interaction term) and U.S. cohorts had higher risk than the European cohorts (2.14; 95% confidence interval, 1.99-2.30; P < 0.0005). Conclusions: Our results suggest that the relationship between PSA and risk of a positive prostate biopsy varies, both in terms of the probability of prostate cancer at a given PSA value and the shape of the risk curve. This poses challenges to the use of PSA-driven algorithms to determine whether biopsy is indicated.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-1328, hdl.handle.net/1765/28269
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Vickers, A.J, Cronin, A.M, Roobol-Bouts, M.J, Hugosson, J, Jones, J.S, Kattan, M.W, … Lilja, H. (2010). The relationship between prostate-specific antigen and prostate cancer risk: The prostate biopsy collaborative group. Clinical Cancer Research, 16(17), 4374–4381. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-1328