Using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to screen asymptomatic men for prostate cancer has been a source of controversy in the medical community since the 1990s. Some argue that there is not enough evidence to suggest PSA’s use as a screening tool improves patient survival, but others believe the test has been instrumental in reducing mortality from prostate cancer in the US, which decreased from 41,400 deaths in 1996 to 27,350 deaths in 2006.

Recent data from two clinical trials—the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC), and the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial (PLCO)—are not only reigniting the flames of this long-standing controversy, but are also sparking new discussions about what can be done to improve the clinical specificity of PSA and optimize the prostate cancer screening process.

The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) will host a Webinar dedicated to the topic on June 22. Attendees will learn current recommendations for prostate cancer screening and risk assessment; what laboratorians can learn from the results of the ERSPC and the PLCO regarding the impact of PSA screening and how it can be improved; the role PSA isoforms, kallikreins, and molecular markers can potentially play in designing an optimal diagnostic procedure for screening asymptomatic men for prostate cancer; how risk-prediction models that assess PSA test results plus factors such as age, ethnicity and family history can potentially be used to improve the clinical specificity of PSA screening; and barriers faced by laboratorians and medical professionals in their efforts to improve the effectiveness of prostate cancer screening

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