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Urol Oncol. 2003 Jul-Aug;21(4):292-304.

Variables in predicting survival based on treating "PSA-only" relapse.

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Department of Surgery, Urology Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA.


Prostate cancer recurrence (after prior local treatment) that is detectable only by a rise in serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) level is a very common problem facing clinicians. Given that the majority of contemporary era men with PSA-only or biochemical recurrence are relatively young and otherwise healthy, treatment requires approaches that both improve clinical outcomes and preserve quality of life. Treatment is in one of two broad categories, additional local therapies, termed "salvage" local therapy and systemic therapies. For radical prostatectomy patients, salvage external beam radiotherapy to the prostate bed is commonly employed, being reserved for early biochemical recurrence in men with low risk at distant metastases. For primary radiation patients, salvage radical prostatectomy or cryotherapy can similarly be used for those men felt not to harbor distant metastases. Systemic therapy generally involves hormonal therapy. Traditional hormonal therapy (orchiectomy, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonists, or maximum androgen blockade) is the current mainstay of systemic treatment for biochemical recurrence, although nontraditional approaches, such as antiandrogen monotherapy, are increasingly being used. Variables in predicting survival based on treating PSA relapse is problematic. The condition of biochemical failure has only been recognized in the last decade and few "PSA-era" patients with biochemical recurrence have actually died of disease. Hence, the validation of prediction variables in this setting is just emerging. Early work would suggest that timing of recurrence, Gleason grade, and PSA velocity or doubling time during relapse are important prognostic factors. New data on PSA doubling time will be presented.

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