Pre-cancerous Prostate Lesions Indicate Increased Risk of Cancer

University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center
Last Modified: May 16, 1999

Prostate lesions known as PIN (prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia) have generally been suspected to be precancerous by the prostate research community. However, little is known about the long-term significance of these lesions. Now a research team at the Boston VA Hospital and the Boston University School of Medicine has shown that the presence of high-grad PIN in a prostate biopsy can signal an early increased risk of invasive prostate cancer that should be closely followed.

To evaluate the prognostic significance of high grade PIN, the researchers, led by Dr. Christopher Nauman, retrospectively analyzed two groups of patients who had biopsies for abnormal prostate exams or elevated PSA tests, which can also be an indicator of prostate cancer. One group of patients had high-grade PIN, the other control group did not.

The patients have been followed for nearly seven years. Significantly, cancer was documented in 49% of the PIN group and 21% of the control group. The researchers found, however, that almost 775 of the cancers in the PIN group were diagnosed within two years after their first biopsy. Interestingly, there was no significant survival difference between the two groups. Nauman concludes that while high grade PIN helps to assess an early increased risk of prostate cancer, it does not appear to predict for decreased survival.