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September 16, 2015
News Release
Alicia Reale
Department of Marketing and
11100 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106
216 844 5158
[email protected]
New Prostate Cancer Screening Review Article Advocates for Active Surveillance
UH Seidman Cancer Center physicians publish in Surgical Clinics of North America
CLEVELAND - In the wake of changing guidelines related to prostate cancer screening, a newly
published review article out of University Hospitals Case Medical Center’s Seidman Cancer
Center in Cleveland provides important guidance about the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.
The peer-reviewed article, titled Prostate Cancer Screening and the Associated Controversy, was
published in the October issue of Surgical Clinics of North America.
The team conducted a thorough review of recent large-scale studies and assessed the impact of
shifting guidelines related to PSA screening, which measures levels of PSA in the blood. Lead
authors Robert Abouassaly, MD, William Tabayoyong, MD, PhD, and colleagues found that active
surveillance can reduce the harms of overtreatment in prostate cancer.
“While PSA screening has reduced prostate cancer mortality, it is not very accurate and has led to
overdiagnosis and overtreatment,” says Dr. Abouassaly, urologist at UH Seidman Cancer Center
and Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “Because prostate
cancer can be slow-growing, we recommend active surveillance, a treatment approach during which
patients are monitored and tested at regular intervals.”
Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy diagnosed in men in the United States.
Widespread use of PSA screening led to a decrease in mortality from the disease; however, the
screening may have led to overtreatment of clinically insignificant cancers. Although PSA has
been validated as a prostate cancer marker, the screening test’s accuracy is limited. It is not
specific for prostate cancer and cannot discriminate between low-grade versus high-grade
Citing evidence that the risks of screening outweighed the benefits, the U.S. Preventive Services
Task Force (USPSTF) released a controversial statement in 2012 recommending against its use.
This was met with concern from professional organizations, including the American Urologic
Association and Society or Urologic Oncology. The groups warned that this was a disservice to
men that would result in failure to prevent avoidable deaths.
In this new review article, the authors found that since the release of the USPSTF statement, the
use of PSA for prostate cancer screening has dramatically reduced. They highlighted that while
complete abandonment of PSA screening will eliminate all cases of overdiagnosis, it will also fail to
prevent 100% of avoidable cancer deaths.
The review of current data found that active surveillance can reduce overtreatment by almost 50
percent at 15 years and that men on active surveillance are not at immediate risk of death from the
disease if therapy is deferred until the cancer progresses.
The authors conclude: “Currently, active surveillance is a feasible strategy to reduce overtreatment
without compromising the therapeutic window and chance for cure. Future efforts should emphasize
strategies to distinguish between clinically insignificant and aggressive prostate cancers so that
definitive therapy can be disseminated appropriately.”
About University Hospitals
University Hospitals, the second largest private employer in Northeast Ohio with 26,000 employees, serves
the needs of patients through an integrated network of 16 hospitals, more than 30 outpatient health centers
and primary care physician offices in 15 counties. At the core of our $3.5 billion health system is University
Hospitals Case Medical Center, ranked among America’s best hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. The
primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, UH Case Medical Center is home to
some of the most prestigious clinical and research programs in the nation, including cancer, pediatrics,
women's health, orthopaedics, radiology, neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, digestive
health, transplantation and genetics. Its main campus includes UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital,
ranked among the top children’s hospitals in the nation; UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only
hospital for women; and UH Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive
Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University. For more information, go to