FYI...the following is just out from Johns Hopkins.
In a recent article posted on the Johns Hopkins Health alerts website, Recent PSA Studies: What You Need To Know, H. Ballentine Carter, M.D., Director of Adult Urology at the Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins wrote: "I think a lot of the over treatment we see has to do with using PSA as an absolute cutoff. I think PSA velocity, how fast the PSA moves over time, may be a better measure of the presence of lethal cancer." Here's some basic information about the PSA velocity test.
The PSA velocity measurement takes into account annual changes in PSA values, which rise more rapidly in men with prostate cancer than in men without the disease. A study from Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging found that an increase in PSA level of more than 0.75 ng/mL per year was an early predictor of prostate cancer in men with PSA levels between 4 ng/mL and 10 ng/mL.
PSA velocity is especially helpful in detecting early cancer in men with mildly elevated PSA levels and a normal digital rectal exam. It is most useful in predicting the presence of cancer when changes in PSA are evaluated over at least one to two years. In a study reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, a rapid rise in PSA level (more than 2 ng/mL) in the year before prostate cancer diagnosis and surgical treatment predicted a higher likelihood that a man would die of his cancer over the next seven years.
Moreover, a Johns Hopkins study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that a man's PSA velocity 10-15 years before he was diagnosed with prostate cancer predicted his survival from the disease 25 years later. In the study, 92% of men with an earlier PSA velocity of 0.35 ng/mL or less per year had survived, compared with 54% of men whose PSA velocity was greater than 0.35 ng/mL.