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J Urol. 2004 Mar;171(3):1122-7.

Lymphovascular invasion is a pathological feature of biologically aggressive disease in patients treated with radical prostatectomy.

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Department of Urology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390-9110, USA.


We examined whether invasion of lymphatic and/or vascular vessels (LVI), or perineural spaces (PNI) is associated with prostate cancer features and outcome.


A total of 630 consecutive men underwent radical retropubic prostatectomy for clinically localized disease. LVI and PNI examination was part of the routine specimen evaluation.


Foci of LVI were identified in 32 patients (5%) and 381 (60.5%) had PNI. LVI and PNI were associated with clinical stage T2 disease, higher biopsy and final Gleason sum, extraprostatic extension, seminal vesicle involvement, positive surgical margins and a higher percent of positive biopsy cores (p <0.001). LVI was associated with metastases to regional lymph nodes and higher preoperative serum prostate specific antigen (p <0.001 and 0.004, respectively). PNI and LVI were associated with an increased risk of rapid biochemical progression after radical prostatectomy on univariate (p <0.001 and 0.001, respectively) but not on multivariate analysis. LVI was associated with shorter prostate specific antigen doubling time after biochemical progression (p = 0.012) and higher probabilities of failed local salvage radiation therapy (p = 0.0169), distant metastases (p <0.001) and death (p <0.001).


Only LVI is associated with metastases to regional and distant sites, and most importantly with overall survival. LVI and PNI are associated with established markers of biologically aggressive disease and rapid biochemical progression in patients who underwent radical prostatectomy. Our findings support the routine evaluation of LVI status in radical prostatectomy specimens and its inclusion in predictive models for clinical outcomes, since it appears to be a pathological marker of the lethal phenotype of prostate cancer.

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