The European Association of Urology (EAU) has announced its plans to launch an online prostate cancer risk assessment tool that will aid urologists, family physicians and men aged 55 years and older to properly evaluate the chance of developing prostate cancer.
Developed by the Rotterdam group of the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC), the Prostate-Risk Indicator is the first of its kind to predict the risks of men using a multivariate-based assessment.
Screening for prostate cancer, involves three diagnostic tests which may indicate prostatic biopsy, namely: the digital rectal examination (DRE), the transrectal ultrasonography (TRUS) and the serum PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) level.
According to Prof. Fritz Schröder, chairman of the ERSPC’s Scientific Committee, the indicator serves to provide men with balanced information on risks and benefits of undergoing testing for prostate cancer and whether he should proceed to consult his family doctor.
The indicator is based on data gathered in the Rotterdam area study on the first 6,288 participants who underwent screening. The men in the study were tested for PSA and any abnormalities in their prostates were also evaluated by DRE and ultrasound. The indicator works in four assessment levels and is applicable to men aged 55 to 74 years old, but not to men of African-American descent.
Levels 1 and 2 are meant to inform men who want an initial risk assessment. At Level 2, a PSA determination will have to be added and the question whether to consult a urologist could be answered at this stage. At Level 3, which takes into account the DRE result and TRUS determination of prostate volume, more solid information is provided about the chance of having a positive biopsy. Level 4 is applicable to men who have a positive biopsy and the assessment includes biopsy related parameters that will enable both urologist and patient to make a decision whether to undergo active treatment or active surveillance.
The English version of the Prostate-Risk Indicator, owned by the Dutch-run SWOP (Stichting Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Prostaatkanker or the Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research), will be licensed to the EAU which in turn will offer the tool on one of its official website pages. It will be officially launched on September 15, which marks the European Prostate Awareness Day.