Objectives. Prostate cancer is rarely diagnosed in men younger than 40 years of age. It is thought, although not documented, that these tumors behave particularly aggressively. Methods. We studied 87 men younger than 40 years old who underwent prostate needle biopsy and were from three populations: (a) 71 cases (63 benign, 7 cancer) from Dianon Systems; (b) 9 needle biopsies with cancer sent to one of us (J.I.E.) in consultation; and (c) 7 men with cancer who came to Johns Hopkins for consultation. Results. The median age of men with a benign biopsy was 35 years (mean 33.9, range 22 to 39); the median age of men with cancer was 38 years (mean 35.9, range 22 to 39) (P = 0.004). The most common indications for biopsy were abnormal digital rectal examination (DRE) (n = 61); elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) (n = 14), and inflammatory symptoms (n = 12). Other reasons cited included hematuria, abnormal ultrasound, pain, ejaculatory problems, obstructive symptoms, and family history of prostate cancer. The median PSA was 2.6 ng/mL (mean 4.8, range 0.3 to 66) for all men, 1.2 ng/mL (mean 3.4, range 0.3 to 19.9) for benign cases, and 4.4 ng/mL (mean 8.7, range 2.1 to 66) for cancer (P = 0.0004). Abnormal DRE was not predictive of cancer. Of the 55 patients whose family history was known, 40 men had no family history of prostate cancer, and of those, only 6 (15%) had cancer. Of the 15 patients with a family history of cancer, 6 (40%) were found to have cancer on biopsy (P = 0.05). Of the 23 patients with cancer, 3 were lost to follow-up, 1 was treated with hormones, and 3 chose watchful waiting. The remaining 16 patients underwent radical prostatectomy and had diverse pathologic findings. Tumor volume ranged from 0.01 to 6.35 cc. Pathologic stage was pT2 in 9 cases and pT3 in 7 cases (2 with positive pelvic lymph nodes). In 14 men, serum PSA values were available: of 4 men with PSA greater than 10 ng/mL, all had Stage pT3, and of 10 men with PSA less than 10 ng/mL, 3 had Stage pT3. Conclusions. Young men who are candidates for radical prostatectomy have potentially curable disease, particularly if PSA at the time of diagnosis is less than 10 ng/mL.
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