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J Urol. 2004 Nov;172(5 Pt 1):1835-9.

Impact of surgical delay on long-term cancer control for clinically localized prostate cancer.

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Department of Urology, The James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland 21287-2101, USA.



Radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP) as definitive management for clinically localized prostate cancer is commonly performed within months of diagnosis. Despite patient anxiety there is little evidence to suggest that a delay of several months from diagnosis to RRP is associated with a worse cancer control rate. However, a recent study cast doubt on the safety of such a delay with respect to cancer control. Therefore, in a contemporary series we determined long-term cancer control in men who underwent RRP for clinically localized prostate cancer with some treated early and others treated after a longer delay.


We analyzed data on 926 men who underwent RRP between January 1989 and December 1994. Age, preoperative serum prostate specific antigen (PSA), biopsy Gleason score, clinical and pathological stage, and biochemical recurrence were compared between 162 men who underwent RRP 60 days or less from biopsy and 764 who underwent RRP after a greater delay. Disease-free (PSA less than 0.2 ng/ml) survival rates were compared using Kaplan-Meier analysis. Pathological staging was compared using logistic regression.


The different groups were well matched for age, serum PSA, pathological stage and followup. However, significantly more men who underwent RRP between 121 and 150 days, and 151 days or greater had T1c disease (48% and 57% vs 35%, p<0.04 and <0.0001, respectively). In addition, significantly more men operated on at 151 days or greater had biopsy Gleason scores 2 to 6 (86% vs 65%, p<0.0001) and significantly fewer had Gleason score 7 disease (13% vs 30%, p<0.002). Men who underwent RRP after 60 or less days had 5 and 10-year biochemical disease-free survival rates comparable to those in men who underwent RRP after 61 to 90, 91 to 120 and 121 to 150 days after diagnosis (82% and 78%, 86% and 78%, 86% and 75%, and 86% and 82%, respectively). Those operated on at 151 days or greater had significantly greater 5 and 10-year biochemical disease-free survival rates (89% and 87%, p<0.04). However, when patients were stratified into different subgroups based on clinical stage, serum PSA and biopsy Gleason score a delay of 150 days or greater no longer impacted differently on long-term cancer control rates.


Delays of up to several months from prostate cancer diagnosis to RRP do not appear to impact long-term biochemical cancer control rates. Therefore, patients can be reassured that there is no immediate urgency to perform RRP after prostate cancer diagnosis, especially in those with T1c disease and biopsy Gleason scores less than 7.

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