The dynamics of prostate-specific antigen after definitive radiation therapy for prostate cancer.
We report the use of an exponential model for capturing the dynamics of serial measurements of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) made just before and after definitive radiation therapy of localized prostate cancer. Our study patients consisted of 164 men treated at a community hospital and without use of adjuvant hormonal therapy, and we had a mean of 5 years follow-up. We found that the model fits allowed us to condense PSA dynamic information into four parameters, including the initial pretreatment value of PSA, and three of these related significantly to subsequent outcome. The model also provided greater understanding of the prognosis of men with rising PSA after radiation therapy. Specifically, two of the model's parameters allowed us to compare the PSA status of these men to those with hormone-refractory disease, and we discovered that at the time of "biochemical relapse," there is a broad spectrum in expected probability of imminent death as well as in time to an adverse outcome. Thus, the model provides information that allows one to stratify men with rising PSA into a continuous spectrum from low to high risk for an adverse outcome. We believe these results show that exponential models have the potential for providing useful clinical information about men with rising PSA after definitive radiation therapy and that they could help us decide when further therapy is needed. Therefore, we recommend further study and development of these models as part of clinical research protocols involving radiation therapy of localized prostate cancer.
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