Task Force Decision on PSA Testing Draws Fire
By joedangor from Mayo Clinic News May 21 208
Sighting false-positive test results, overdiagnosis and overtreatment, the United States Preventive Services Task Force today issued a final recommendation on prostate specific antigen testing for prostate cancer, giving it a “D” rating. The rating means the Task Force determined the current medical evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of the test or that the evidence is lacking, of poor quality, or conflicting, and the balance of benefits and harms cannot be assessed.
Not everyone agrees. In a news release, the American Urological Association said there is strong evidence that PSA testing saves lives and that the randomized trials used by the Task Force to study PSA testing do show benefit to patients.
Mayo Clinic urologist, Jeffrey Karnes, M.D. sides with the AUA. “I don’t think[the Task Force decision] will change my viewpoint,” Dr. Karnes says. “Prostate cancer is still a leading cause of mortality around the world, so the decision has and should increase interest and attention on research.” Dr. Karnes says one of the two randomized trials the task force used to reach its final recommendation did not account for the fact that many men in the trial had already undergone PSA testing, so it is flawed. He also points out that the task force decision failed to consider patient and physician viewpoints.
For more information on this issue, see an editorial written by Dr. Karnes in the March 2012 issue of the Journal of Men’s Health.
Additional patient information on PSA testing from Mayo Clinic is also available online.