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Largest PSA bounce study eases worry of prostate cancer returning

November 09, 2006

Prostate cancer patients who have a temporary rise in their prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels after radiation therapy-called a PSA bounce-are not at an increased risk of their cancer coming back any more than those who don't have a temporary rise, according to the largest study of its kind presented November 8, 2006, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 48th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.

External beam radiation therapy and radiation seed implants are two of the main treatments for prostate cancer. Since these treatments are minimally invasive, have short recovery periods and often help men preserve their sexual and urinary function, many men with prostate cancer prefer radiation over other treatments, including surgery. The PSA bounce is common in half of all men who have radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Increased levels of PSA, which is a protein produced by the prostate, may be a sign of prostate cancer.

"I believe the results of our study should help reduce the stress and uncertainty for men who experience a PSA bounce after radiation knowing that this doesn't represent a recurrence or put them at increased risk for cancer coming back later on," said Eric Horwitz, M.D., lead author of the study and clinical director of the radiation oncology department at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. "This study significantly impacts the clinical practice for both radiation oncologists and urologists. Clinicians should consider additional PSA tests after the initial bounce to see if the PSA levels return to normal before concluding that cancer has recurred and recommending additional treatment."

The study involved more than 7,500 men in 19 institutions who were treated for prostate cancer with either external beam radiation therapy or radiation seed implants. Findings show that over a 10-year period, there was no difference in cancer recurrence between those who had a PSA bounce and those who did not.

American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology

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