What is PSA velocity, and how should it be used when treating prostate cancer?

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StacyLoebMD (Physician - Urology (Verified) ) - 09 / 03 / 2013

PSA velocity is the change in PSA per year. The units of PSA are ng/ml, so PSA velocity is expressed as ng/ml/year. PSA velocity was originally described by Dr Carter in 1992, who showed that a more rapid rise in PSA was suggestive of prostate cancer rather than benign prostate enlargement. In benign enlargement, the typical PSA velocity is approximately 0.15 ng/ml/year, so a higher PSA velocity (such as >0.35 ng/ml/year) indicates a greater risk of prostate cancer. PSA velocity also predicts the risk of recurrence and death after treatment. For example, men with a pre-treatment PSA velocity >2 ng/ml/year have a significantly higher risk of death from prostate cancer after either radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy.
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