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New Method Assesses Risk Of Advanced Cancer After Prostate Removal

A man in the lowest risk group (with a moderately severe tumor, PSA recurrence after two years post-surgery, and PSA doubling time greater than 10 months) has a 95 percent chance of being metastases-free three years after the PSA recurrence; an 86 percent chance at five years; and an 82 percent chance at seven years.

"When men see their PSA levels rise again, they think that means the cancer is back and they need to get treated aggressively right away. But that isn't always the case," says Mario Eisenberger, M.D., a Hopkins oncologist and study co-author. "Patients may live for years without having the cancer spread. This information will better equip doctors and their patients to decide who is a candidate for additional therapy."

The study is critical for future drug research as well, says Partin, because it provides essential baseline data. "Before, it was difficult to know if a drug was helping, because you couldn't be sure what the disease would have done on its own," he says. "Now, researchers can compare their treatment groups with our study group and tell if their treatment is improving survival."

Other findings from the study:

Men who experienced rising PSA levels (304 out of 1,997) remained free from metastatic cancer an average of eight years.

After developing metastatic cancer, as confirmed by imaging techniques like bone scans, the average time to death was five years. However, men who developed metastases eight or more years following surgery had a much better outlook.

At 15 years post-surgery, a projected 82 percent of men will still be free from metastatic cancer and considered cured.


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Contact: Brian Vastag
bvastag@jhmi.edu
410-955-8665
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
4-May-1999


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