Objectives: To determine whether nadir prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels within 12 months (nadir PSA12) after completion of radiotherapy (RT) can be used as an early marker of recurrence risk. Methods: A total of 4839 patients were treated with RT and without hormonal therapy from 1986 to 1995 for Stage T1-T2 prostate cancer at nine institutions. Of these 4839 patients, 4833, with a median follow-up of 6.3 years, met the criteria for analysis. The study endpoints included freedom from PSA failure, initiation of androgen deprivation, or documented local or distant failure (PSA-DFS); freedom from clinically apparent distant metastasis (DMFS); and overall survival (OS). Results: Patients with a nadir PSA12 of 2.0 ng/mL or less had an 8-year PSA-DFS, DMFS, and OS rate of 55%, 95%, and 73%, respectively, compared with 40%, 88%, and 69%, respectively, for patients with a nadir PSA12 of more than 2.0 ng/mL. Multivariate analysis confirmed that a nadir PSA12 of greater than 2 ng/mL was an independent predictor of PSA-DFS, DMFS, and OS. Classification and regression tree analysis identified the nadir PSA12 levels after RT associated with PSA-DFS, DMFS, and OS. Nadir PSA12, combined with the pretreatment PSA level, identified patients at particularly high risk of distant metastasis. Conclusions: The results of this large, multi-institutional study have demonstrated that nadir PSA12 is predictive of clinical outcomes for patients with localized prostate cancer after RT. A high pretreatment PSA level and high nadir PSA12 will identify patients at particularly high risk who might benefit from early adjuvant therapy.