Screening for prostate cancer: Have we resolved the controversy?
Purpose of review Prostate cancer (PCa) screening has long been a source of controversy. In this review, we discuss the interim results of the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) and the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Implications of these studies will also be underlined. Recent findings With systematic prostate-specific antigen-based screening, the ERSPC reported a statistically significant PCa-specific mortality reduction of 20% favouring screening in the intention-to-treat analysis and 31% in the secondary analysis. In contrast, the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial showed no mortality reduction. On the basis of critical appraisal of the study design and methods, it is justified to rely on the results of the ERSPC, as the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial is rather a comparison between a screening group and a less screened group. Summary Despite the effects demonstrated by the ERSPC, there is currently insufficient evidence to introduce a population-based screening programme. The studies evaluating quality of life and cost-efficiency need to be completed with the highest urgency and their results should be considered together with more mature data from the ERSPC to reach an effective implementation of screening on PCa. Meanwhile, we have to improve the screening test, screening protocol and further develop an accurate individualized risk assessment to decrease the rates of overdiagnosis and overtreatment, while the mortality reduction and the detection of clinically relevant PCa should be maintained. Copyright