Prostate‐Specific Antigen and External Beam Radiation Therapy in Prostate Cancer

Gunar K. Zagars, Neil E. Sherman, Richard J. Babaian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Scopus citations


This study of 133 patients with localized prostate cancer (Stages A2 to C), treated by external beam radiation therapy (XRT), was undertaken for two reasons: (1) to investigate the usefulness of pretreatment serum prostate‐specific antigen (PSA) levels in evaluating patients before XRT; and (2) to investigate post‐XRT changes in PSA values and their likely clinical significance. It was found that pretreatment PSA values in patients with localized disease exhibit wide patient to patient variability with a greater than 100‐fold difference between the lowest and highest values. Although mean PSA values were significantly higher in Stage C disease (51 patients; mean PSA, 17.3 ng/ml) than in Stage A2 disease (31 patients; mean PSA, 9.0 ng/ml), Stage B1 disease (23 patients; mean PSA, 9.1 ng/ml), or Stage B2 disease (28 patients; mean PSA, 10.6 ng/ml), individual values were of virtually no help in assigning individual patients to a clinical stage. PSA levels did not correlate with grade. After XRT, PSA values fell significantly and dramatically in virtually all patients (98%) by 3 months follow‐up. Mean PSA fell from 12.5 to 2.6 ng/ml, and median PSA fell from 6.6 to 1.9 ng/ml. In most patients, PSA continued to fall up to 12 months after XRT and then stabilized at 21 months. Although PSA values fell dramatically after XRT, PSA was detectable in the serum of all patients. PSA values tended to transiently and mildly elevate during XRT. In a small proportion of patients, rising PSA values were observed after 6 months. The full significance of this requires further follow‐up, of four such patients, one has relapsed. PSA is a more sensitive marker of prostatic radiation than prostatic acid phosphatase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-420
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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