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J Clin Pathol. 1998 Jan;51(1):5-12.

Pathological changes in prostate lesions after androgen manipulation.

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  • 1Institute of Pathological Anatomy and Histopathology, University of Ancona, Ospedale Regionale, Torrette, Italy.


The number of newly diagnosed cases of prostate cancer has doubled in the past four years because of the aging of the population coupled with growing awareness of the importance of early detection. The issues of clinical understaging and resection limit positivity have led to the development of novel management practices, including neoadjuvant hormonal treatment, which aims to downstage the primary tumour and decrease the positive margin rate before definitive localised treatment (radical prostatectomy or definitive radiation treatment (neoadjuvant)). There is conflicting evidence regarding pathological downstaging, with some studies suggesting benefit and others no benefit of androgen manipulation before radical prostatectomy. The problem might be related to incomplete sampling of the prostates and difficulties associated with the pathological interpretation of morphological changes. The least controversial aspect of neoadjuvant treatment is its impact on surgical margins. Most series have shown that neoadjuvant treatment in clinical T2 tumours is associated with a 20-25% decrease in positive margins in radical prostatectomy specimens. In patients with clinical T3 tumours, the effects of neoadjuvant treatment on positive margins are less clear. Even if some early significant advantages can be observed following hormonal treatment this may not alter the metastatic spread and overall survival rate. Only long term follow up studies evaluating biological and clinical failures, time to progression, and survival will allow definitive conclusions from this approach.

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