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Effect of age, tumor risk, and comorbidity on competing risks for survival in a U.S. population-based cohort of men with prostate cancer.

BACKGROUND: Accurate estimation of life expectancy is essential to offering appropriate care to men with early-stage prostate cancer, but mortality risks associated with comorbidity are poorly defined.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of age, comorbidity, and tumor risk on other-cause and prostate cancer-specific mortality in men with early-stage disease.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

SETTING: A nationally representative, population-based cohort.

PATIENTS: 3183 men with nonmetastatic prostate cancer at diagnosis.

MEASUREMENTS: Baseline self-reported comorbidity (scored as a count of 12 major comorbid conditions), tumor characteristics, initial treatment, and overall and disease-specific mortality through 14 years of follow-up. Survival analyses that accounted for competing risks were performed.

RESULTS: Fourteen-year cumulative other-cause mortality rates were 24%, 33%, 46%, and 57% for men with 0, 1, 2, and 3 or more comorbid conditions, respectively. For men diagnosed at age 65 years, subhazard ratios for other-cause mortality among those with 1, 2, or 3 or more comorbid conditions (vs. none) were 1.2 (95% CI, 1.0 to 1.4), 1.7 (CI, 1.4 to 2.0), and 2.4 (CI, 2.0 to 2.8), respectively. Among men with 3 or more comorbid conditions, 10-year other-cause mortality rates were 26%, 40%, and 71% for those aged 60 years or younger, 61 to 74 years, and 75 years or older at diagnosis, respectively. Prostate cancer-specific mortality was minimal in patients with low-risk (3%) and intermediate-risk (7%) disease but appreciable in those with high-risk disease (18%) and did not vary by number of comorbid conditions (10% to 11% in all groups).

LIMITATION: Comorbid conditions were self-reported.

CONCLUSION: Older men with multiple major comorbid conditions are at high risk for other-cause mortality within 10 years of diagnosis and should consider this information when deciding between conservative management and aggressive treatment for low- or intermediate-risk prostate cancer.

PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: National Cancer Institute.

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