(HealthDay News) — From 2014 to 2021, the rates of active surveillance for low-risk prostate cancer increased, but there was considerable practice- and practitioner-level variation in its use, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers characterized trends over time and practice- and practitioner-level variation in the use of active surveillance for men with low-risk prostate cancer newly diagnosed between January 1, 2014, and June 1, 2021. Data were included for 20,809 men in the American Urological Association Quality Registry with known primary treatment.

The researchers found that rates of active surveillance increased from 26.5% in 2014 to 59.6% in 2021. There was variation noted in the use of active surveillance, from 4.0% to 78.0% at the urology practice level and from 0% to 100% at the practitioner level.

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Year of diagnosis was the variable most strongly associated with active surveillance on multivariable analysis. Age, race, and prostate-specific antigen level at diagnosis were all associated with odds of active surveillance.

“Rates of active surveillance nationally continue to increase rapidly, but overtreatment of low-risk disease remains excessive,” the study authors wrote. “Moreover, individual practices vary radically in their use of active surveillance, as do individual practitioners even within a given practice.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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