Differences in the incidence and mortality rate of prostate cancer between the USA and Japan have been decreasing over time, and were only twofold in 2017. Therefore, countermeasures against prostate cancer could be very important not only in Western countries, but also in developed Asian countries. Screening for prostate cancer in the general population using transrectal ultrasonography, digital rectal examination and/or prostate acid phosphatase began in Japan in the early 1980s, and screening with prostate-specific antigen and digital rectal examination has been widespread in the USA since the late 1980s. Large- and mid-scale randomized controlled trials on screening for prostate cancer began around 1990 in the USA, Canada and Europe. However, most of these studies failed as randomized controlled trials because of high contamination in the control arm, low compliance in the screening arm or insufficient screening setting about screening frequency and/or biopsy indication. The best available level 1 evidence is data from the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer and the Göteborg screening study. However, several non-urological organizations and lay media around the world have mischaracterized the efficacy of prostate-specific antigen screening. To avoid long-term confusion about screening for prostate cancer, leading professional urological organizations, including the Japanese Urological Association, are moving toward the establishment of an optimal screening system that minimizes the drawbacks of overdetection, overtreatment and loss of quality of life due to treatment, and maximizes reductions in the risk of death as a result of prostate cancer and the development of metastatic prostate cancer.

International journal of urology : official journal of the Japanese Urological Association. 2019 Jun 10 [Epub ahead of print]

Kazuto Ito, Ryo Oki, Yoshitaka Sekine, Seiji Arai, Yoshiyuki Miyazawa, Yasuhiro Shibata, Kazuhiro Suzuki, Isao Kurosawa

Institute for Preventive Medicine, Kurosawa Hospital, Takasaki, Gunma, Japan., Department of Urology, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, Maebashi, Gunma, Japan.