Evid Based Med 18:75-76 doi:10.1136/eb-2012-100803
  • Diagnosis
  • Systematic review

Review of evidence concerning PSA screening for prostate cancer has limitations as basis for policy development

  1. Ruth D Etzioni
  1. Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Ruth D Etzioni
    Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave N. M2-B230, PO Box 19024, Seattle, WA 98109-1024, USA; retzioni{at}

Commentary on:


Prostate cancer screening is controversial. This study presents an evidence review commissioned by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) in developing their updated recommendations regarding prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening. The USPSTF based its latest recommendation (against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer) on the evidence in this review, concluding that there was moderate to high certainty that the service had no net benefit or that the harms outweighed the benefit.


The evidence review used standard protocols to identify articles published between 2002 and 2011 that addressed benefits or harms of screening and primary treatment for localised cancers. Focus was on comparative studies, particularly clinical trials. With respect to screening, most inferences were based on the US Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and …

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