Changes in Prostate Cancer Presentation Following the 2012 USPSTF Screening Statement: Observational Study in a Multispecialty Group Practice



In 2012, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer in men of all ages. Following this change, screening declined yet the complete impact on clinical presentation is not well defined in the screen-eligible population.


To determine if the rates of PSA screening, prostate biopsy, incident prostate cancer detection, and stage IV at presentation in screen-eligible men in Kaiser Permanente Northern California changed following the 2012 USPSTF Prostate Cancer Screening recommendations.


Retrospective study spanning the years 2010 to 2015, in screen-eligible Kaiser Permanente Northern California members (African American men ages 45–69 and all other men ages 50–69) with no prior history of prostate cancer.


All screen-eligible, male members during 2010 (n = 403,931) to 2015 (n = 483,286) without a history of prostate cancer within all Kaiser Permanente Northern California facilities.

Main Measures

Annual rates of PSA testing, prostate biopsy, incident prostate cancer detection, and stage IV cancer at presentation were compared between the pre-guideline period, 2010 and 2011, and the post-guideline period, 2014 and 2015, in men under the age of 70.

Key Results

Following the 2012 USPSTF guideline change, screening rates declined 23.4% (95% CI 23.0–23.8%), biopsy rates declined 64.3% (95% CI 62.9–65.6%), and incident prostate cancer detection rates declined 53.5% (95% CI 50.1–56.7%) resulting in 1871 fewer incident cancers detected, and metastatic cancer rates increased 36.9% (95% CI 9.5–71.0%) resulting in 75 more stage IV cancers detected.


Less screening resulted in a large decrease in cancer detection, some of which may be beneficial as many cancers may be indolent, yet this decrease occurred at the expense of an increase in metastatic cancer rates. For every 25 fewer cancers detected, one metastatic cancer was diagnosed. This information may be valuable in the shared decision-making process around prostate cancer screening.

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Correspondence to Joseph Presti Jr. MD.

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The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


This study was reviewed and approved by the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Institutional Review Board.

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Prior Presentations

ASCO 2018 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium February 8, 2018.

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Presti, J., Alexeeff, S., Horton, B. et al. Changes in Prostate Cancer Presentation Following the 2012 USPSTF Screening Statement: Observational Study in a Multispecialty Group Practice. J GEN INTERN MED (2019) doi:10.1007/s11606-019-05561-y

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  • cancer screening
  • prostate cancer
  • shared decision-making