Affiliations of authors: Department of Surgery and Perioperative Sciences, Urology and Andrology (PS, BH) and Department of Radiation Sciences, Oncology (HJ), Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden; Department of Surgery, Urology Service (PS, SC), Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (AV), Department of Laboratory Medicine (HL), Department of Surgery (HL), and Department of Medicine (HL), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; Department of Urology, Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden (SC, JH); Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK (HL); Institute of Biomedical Technology, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland (HL); Department of Laboratory Medicine in Malmö, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden (HL).
The effect of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening on prostate cancer mortality remains debated, despite evidence from randomized trials. We investigated the association between prostate cancer incidence, reflecting uptake of PSA testing, and prostate cancer mortality.
The study population consisted of all men aged 50 to 74 years residing in eight counties in Sweden with an early increase in prostate cancer incidence and six counties with a late increase during two time periods. Incidence of metastatic prostate cancer was investigated in the period from 2000 to 2009, and prostate cancer-specific mortality and excess mortality were investigated in the period from 1990 to 1999 and the period from 2000 to 2009 by calculating rate ratios for high- vs low-incidence counties and rate ratios for the period from 2000 to 2009 vs the period from 1990 to 1999 within these two groups. All statistical tests were two-sided.
There were 4528134 person-years at risk, 1577 deaths from prostate cancer, and 1210 excess deaths in men with prostate cancer in high-incidence counties and 2471373 person-years at risk, 985 prostate cancer deaths, and 878 excess deaths in low-incidence counties in the period from 2000 to 2009. Rate ratios in counties with high vs low incidence adjusted for time period were 0.81 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.73 to 0.90) for prostate cancer- specific mortality and 0.74 (95% CI = 0.64 to 0.86) for excess mortality, and the rate ratio of metastatic prostate cancer was 0.85 (95% CI = 0.79 to 0.92).
The lower prostate cancer mortality in high-incidence counties reflecting a high PSA uptake suggests that more-intense as compared with less-intense opportunistic PSA screening reduces prostate cancer mortality.
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