Incidence and pathological characteristics of prostate cancer in Italy: A contribution to the screening debate

Gennaro Maria Picone, Claudia Pizzi, Antonio Quartuccio, Giuseppe Scognamiglio, Libuse Tauchmanova, Massimo Di Maio, Pierceleste Cifarelli, Alma Contegiacomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The scientific, social and financial aspects of prostate cancer (PC) organized or opportunistic screening to identify early PC are hotly debated. The incidence of prostate cancer is lower in Italy than in America and North Europe and data on PC incidence and pathological characteristics are scarce. Methods: To determine PC incidence and whether screening would be beneficial, we studied 1008 consecutive symptomatic patients from the Southern Italy who underwent transrectal ultrasonography; 170 of them (age range: 48-93 years; median: 70 years) were at risk and underwent transrectal biopsy. Results: Adenomatous hyperplasia was detected in 105 patients (62%), PC in 51 (30%), prostate intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) in 5 (3%) and inflammatory disease in 5 (3%). The median age of patients with PC was 73.5 and tumors were generally well to moderately differentiated (76%, Gleason score ≤7). Prostate cancer (or PIN) was more frequent in patients over 70 (p <0.0001). The Gleason score also increased with age: >7 in 92% and 8% of patients aged >70 and ≤70, respectively (p <0.05). Conclusions: On the basis of our results organized or opportunistic PC screening of elderly men does not appear justified because: invasive carcinoma is detected in less than 1/3 of symptomatic "healthy" men; patients became symptomatic when their life expectancy is often less than 10 years; and PC is more frequent and more aggressive after 70 years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-458
Number of pages4
JournalCancer Detection and Prevention
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Gleason score
  • Neoplasms in the elderly
  • PIN
  • Prostate cancer detection
  • Prostate cancer prevention
  • Prostate cancer screening
  • PSA
  • Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Incidence and pathological characteristics of prostate cancer in Italy: A contribution to the screening debate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this