Screening male kidney transplant candidates for prostate cancer may do more harm than good

December 22, 2015

Washington, DC (December 22, 2015) -- Screening male kidney transplant candidates for prostate cancer may be more harmful than protective because it does not appear to prolong their survival but may interfere with the transplant process. The findings come from a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

Screening for prostate cancer by assessing prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels is highly controversial because PSA levels may be elevated in a variety of disease processes. Also, even in the general population, the benefits of early treatment interventions for prostate cancer are unclear.

Currently, there are no guidelines for prostate cancer screening in patients with kidney disease who are undergoing evaluation for kidney transplantation; however, transplant centers generally rigorously screen candidates for potential malignancies to ensure that there are no contraindications to receiving a transplant.

For the first time, researchers now demonstrate that screening for prostate cancer in kidney transplant candidates is not beneficial, and may actually be harmful. When investigators led by Nicole Turgeon, MD, Blayne Amir Sayed, MD, PhD (Emory University), and Gerardo Vitiello, MD (NYU Langone Medical Center) retrospectively analyzed information on 3782 male patients undergoing kidney transplant evaluations at a single transplant center during a 10-year period, they discovered the following: "Screening for prostate cancer appears to delay receiving a kidney transplant without a clear survival benefit, and thus should likely be avoided as a general screening tool in the kidney transplant candidate population," said Dr. Turgeon.
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Study co-authors include Marla Wardenburg, MD, Sebastian Perez, MSPH, Christopher Keith, BS, Daniel Canter, MD, Kenneth Ogan, MD, and Thomas Pearson, MD.

Disclosures: The authors reported no financial disclosures.

The article, entitled "Utility of Prostate Cancer Screening in Kidney Transplant Candidates," will appear online at http://jasn.asnjournals.org/ on December 22, 2015. doi:10.1681/ASN.2014121182

The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Founded in 1966, and with nearly 16,000 members, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) leads the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality care for patients.

American Society of Nephrology

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