PSA readings approaching two years out from surgery

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 12/3/2010 2:16 PM (GMT -6)   
In January 2008, I had a radical prostatectomy. The pathology afterward seemed to indicate that the surgeon had caught all of the tumor, with no signs of cells outside the prostate (it was starting to spike through the margins - whew!). I've had post-surgery ultra-sensitive PSA tests every four months or so since. The first three read "less than 0.01," meaning the meter couldn't detect anything. Then there was a reading of "0.01," followed by another "less than 0.01," which implied that the higher reading wasn't meaningful.

My most recent one, this last month, read "0.02."

I know that this is still low low low, and hope that it's another anomaly of the reading; and plan to get my next test in three months.

But should I worry ? rolleyes

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 148
   Posted 12/3/2010 2:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Within margin of error I'm sure.
Age 48 w/diagnosed
10/06 PSA 3.0
11/06 PSA FREE %13.2
10/07 PSA 3.4
12/07 Biopsy-neg
1/09 PSA 4.6
6/09 psa 5.8
2/10 psa 8.7
7/10 PSA 10.8
8/2010 3rd biopsy GG 3+3=6, one of eight cores -2%
Lap 10/22/10 Dr. Troxel
Path- Neg Margins, Gleason 6, Nerves spared, 85 gm
Cath out Nov 2, Dec 2nd 2 pads/day

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 739
   Posted 12/3/2010 3:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Bill, congratulations fantastic news, but I think you may have made a typo, aren't you now approaching 3 years of PSA since surgery ?

Tim G
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2313
   Posted 12/3/2010 7:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Anything less than 0.1 ng/mL is for all intents and purposes a zero.  My last PSA was a 0.02 as well.  All the best on your continued recovery!   

PSA quadrupled in 1 yr (0.6 to 2.5)
DRE negative 1 of 12 biopsies positive (< 5%)
open surgery June 2006 at age 57
Organ-confined to small area, Gleason 3+2
Bilateral nerve-sparing, Prostate weight 34 grams
PSA's undetectable < 0.1

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 1160
   Posted 12/3/2010 7:28 PM (GMT -6)   
At this rate, you'll be at 0.1 in about 150 years.

Meanwhile, enjoy your life, and congratulations on your good fortune in the PSA lottery.
Age 55
PSA: 8/09 2.69 -- 7/10 4.00 -- 8/10 4.11
Biopsy 8/10
Three of 14 cores positive: 10%, 60% & 80%
Stage T1C; Gleason 6
open radical prostatectomy at Cleveland Clinic 11/2/10
Post-surgical pathology: Gleason score 7 (3+4)
Three positive margins; Stage T2c(+)

Elite Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25380
   Posted 12/3/2010 8:43 PM (GMT -6)   
That is still a big fat zero, congratulations
Age: 58, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 7 of 7 Positive, 40-90%, Gleason 4+3
open RP: 11/08, on catheters for 101 days
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos marg
Incont & ED: None
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, 8/6 .06 11/10 Not taking it
Latest: 6 Corr Surgeries to Bladder Neck, SP Catheter since 10/1/9, SRT 39 Sess/72 gy ended 11/09, 21 Catheters, Ileal Conduit Surgery 9/23/10

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 2691
   Posted 12/3/2010 9:02 PM (GMT -6)   
I know all the arguments about ultrasensitive PSA. I do realize that .1 is still a low amount of PSA. If I had a PSA of 5, then whether it is 5.01, or 5.05, makes little or no difference.

I would argue that the difference between <.01 and .02 is significant. Not that it means we should worry, or that we rush in for radiation, or HT, but it is a doubling, or tripling of the PSA in our system. If we go along for 2 years at <.01, then a .02 is something to take note of. A retest in 3 months would be in order in my opinion.

Understand, I am talking as a G9 patient. I am particularly attuned to rises in PSA. I also don't buy the PSA sources from other parts of the body, unless it is left over prostate tissue. Margin of error in today's lab world is not really a consideration. These machines are continually calibrated and checked against a standard. I would be amazed if a lab test could be off more than .001.

It is important of course to make sure that we compare lab tests of the same type, and even better to try and use the same lab.

I have been utilizing the Roche Modular E170 PSA electrochemicalluminecent immunoassay. I have had consistent results every 3 months. In the written test results which I obtain from the medical records office of the hospital, it says the following :

After radical prostatectomy, the reference interval is less than .05 ng/mL if there is no residual disease. In healthy males without prostatctectomy, the reference interval is 4.00 ng/mL. The lower limit of detection is 0.01 ng/mL.

This statement is printed by the testing laboratory. I trust this more than a urologist deciding that .2 is number.

So, if they feel that .0499 is the limit for not having residual disease, then I rationalize that .02 or .03 are significant. Call me crazy, call me paranoid, but I find it hard to argue with numbers.

I just can't accept that anything less than .1 is a zero. I like the warning signs of a .01, .02, or a .05, long before I get the .1 number.
Age 58, PSA 4.47 Biopsy - 2/12 cores , Gleason 4 + 5 = 9
Da Vinci, Cleveland Clinic  4/14/09   Nerves spared, but carved up a little.
0/23 lymph nodes involved  pT3a NO MX
Catheter and 2 stints in ureters for 2 weeks .
Neg Margins, bladder neck negative
Living the Good Life, cancer free  6 week PSA  <.03
3 month PSA <.01 (different lab)
5 month PSA <.03 (undetectable)
6 Month PSA <.01
1 pad a day, no progress on ED.  Trimix injection
No pads, 1/1/10,  9 month PSA < .01
1 year psa (364 days) .01
15 month PSA <.01
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