Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing has been associated with a sharp increase in prostate cancer (PCA) detection after its introduction in the late 1980s. Since its launch and its implementation as diagnostic test in 1994, temporal patterns in patients' age and serum PSA level at presentation have changed, with younger patients being diagnosed at lower PSA cutoff levels. Many studies suggest that PSA screening has resulted in a profound downward migration in clinical and pathologic stage of newly diagnosed PCA, although the effect has slowed in the most recent years. The impact on tumor grading is less clear. Histologic grading of PCA, based on the Gleason system, is predictive of the biological behavior and prognosis of the tumor. If tumor progresses from low grade to high grade, the early detection would lead to a higher percentage of low-grade disease diagnosed over time. However, published data suggest that tumor grade shifts have occurred over time and are unlikely to be attributable to changes in tumor biology, but rather to changes in practice with respect to Gleason grading. This review will address PCA staging and grading trends from the pre-PSA era to the present time with emphasis on the potential role played by changes in clinical and pathologic practice.
*Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Institute
‡Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
†Department of Pathology and Human Oncology, University of Siena, Siena, Italy
Reprints: Cristina Magi-Galluzzi, MD, PhD, Department of Anatomic Pathology, Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Avenue, L25, Cleveland, OH 44195 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).