The American Urological Association (AUA) today released new guidelines for prostate cancer screening, recommending against PSA screening for men younger than 40 and against routine screenings for men aged 40 to 54 at average risk of prostate cancer or for men over the age of 70.

The guidelines also recommend that men between the ages of 55 to 69 thoroughly discuss the pros and cons of screening with their doctors, adding that even this group of men should get screened only every two years, not annually.

"While the benefits of PSA-based prostate cancer screening have been evaluated in randomized-controlled trials, the literature supporting the efficacy of DRE, PSA derivatives and isoforms (e.g. free PSA, -2proPSA, prostate health index, hK2, PSA velocity or PSA doubling time) and novel urinary markers and biomarkers (e.g. PCA3) for screening with the goal of reducing prostate cancer mortality provide limited evidence to draw conclusions," the report said.

H. Ballentine Carter, an urologist and Johns Hopkins professor who chaired the AUA panel, told USA Today that the panel found no "high-level" evidence to support routine PSA screening, but added that the public and the medical profession may be reluctant to stop.

"The public is very enthusiastic about screening, partly because of our messaging," said Carter. "The idea that screening delivers benefits may have been overexaggerated."

The efficacy of PSA screening has been debated for years. Some say it can lead to false-positive results, which in turn can lead to unnecessary invasive screening like biopsy, or even unnecessary cancer treatment. One study found that screening prevented only one death per 1,000 men screened over a 10-year period, said the AUA report.