JOURNAL ARTICLE

Stage T1-2 prostate cancer: a multivariate analysis of factors affecting biochemical and clinical failures after radical prostatectomy

P A Kupelian, J Katcher, H S Levin, E A Klein
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 1997 March 15, 37 (5): 1043-52
9169811

PURPOSE: Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is extensively used in case selection and outcome evaluation after treatment of clinically localized prostate cancer. Careful case selection can have a profound impact on pathologic findings and ultimate outcome. In addition, salvage treatment is frequently initiated at the time of biochemical relapse rather than clinical recurrence. Consequently, patterns of failure can be significantly altered compared to previous times when PSA was not available. To better understand the impact of PSA on pathologic findings, outcome, and salvage treatment, we reviewed our experience in the PSA era with clinical Stage T1-2 prostate cancer treated with radical prostatectomy.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Between 1987 and 1993, 423 cases could be identified with clinical Stage T1-2 prostate cancer treated with radical prostatectomy. The distribution of cases by pretreatment PSA levels was as follows: < or = 4 ng/ml (18%), 4-10 ng/ml (42%), 10-20 ng/ml (21%), > 20 ng/ml (14%), and unknown (5%). The median pretreatment PSA level for the entire group was 8.0 ng/ml. Sixteen patients received adjuvant or neoadjuvant androgen suppression and 13 received postoperative radiotherapy. Only 31 patients (7%) had pathologically positive pelvic lymph nodes. The overall margin involvement rate was 46%. Fifty-three percent of patients had surgical Gleason scores > or = 7, and 65% had extracapsular extension. The median follow-up time was 41 months.

RESULTS: The projected overall survival at 7 years after surgery was 90%. The 5-year clinical relapse-free survival rate was 84%. At 5 years, the local control and distant failure rates were 92% and 91%, respectively. Biochemical relapse was defined as a detectable or rising PSA level after prostatectomy. The 5-year biochemical relapse-free survival (bRFS) rate was 59%. The 5-year RFS was 88% in patients with preoperative PSA levels < or = 4, 62% for 4-10, 48% for 10-20, and 31% for > 20. Combining the two independent preoperative variables, iPSA and biopsy GS (bGS), two risks groups were defined: low risk [initial PSA (iPSA) levels < or = 10.0 and bGS < or = 6] and high risk (iPSA levels > 10.0 ng/ml or bGS > or = 7). The 5-year bRFS rate for the low-risk cases was 81% vs. 40% for high-risk cases (p < 0.001). On multivariate analysis, three factors independently predicted biochemical relapse: iPSA levels (p = 0.005), Gleason score from the surgical specimen (sGS) (p = 0.002), and positive surgical margins (p < or = 0.001). The 5-year bRFS rates for margin positive vs. margin negative patients were 37% vs. 78%, respectively. The 5-year bRFS rates for GS > or = 7 vs. GS > or = 6 were 42% vs. 80%, respectively. All clinical relapses were accompanied by a rise in PSA. In patients who manifested biochemical failure followed by a clinical failure, the median interval between the PSA rise and clinical failure was 19 months (range 7-71). Margin involvement was the only independent predictor of local failure (p = 0.019). The 5-year local failure-free survival for negative margin cases was 96% vs. 87% for positive margin cases (p = 0.012). Lymph node (LN) involvement and high-risk group were the two independent predictors of distant failure. The 5-year distant failure-free survival for negative LN cases was 94% vs. 67% for positive LN cases (p < 0.001). The 5-year distant failure-free survival for low-risk cases was 97% vs. 85% for high-risk cases (p = 0.005). For the 124 patients failing biochemically, 85 were observed and 39 were treated either with radiation or androgen deprivation. With a median follow-up of 32 months, the clinical disease relapse-free survival was 79% for the treated patients vs. only 32% for the patients observed (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Pretreatment PSA is the most potent clinical factor independently predicting biochemical relapse, thereby allowing markedly better case selection. Achieving negative margins, even in relatively advanced disease, provides excellent lon

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