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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2006 Mar;130(3):303-17.

Key issues in handling and reporting radical prostatectomy specimens.

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Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.



Patients with prostatic adenocarcinoma commonly undergo radical prostatectomy, and it is often difficult and time consuming to handle the resulting specimens and to report the findings. Pathologic information derived from the radical prostatectomy specimen is used for selecting adjuvant therapy, such as radiotherapy and hormone therapy, and for determining a patient's prognosis. The prostate specimen must be handled in a systematic fashion to derive the appropriate prognostic parameters.


To review the prognostic factors of relevance in classifying radical prostatectomy specimens, using the College of American Pathologists categorization system, including a detailed survey of the morphologic-based factors but excluding other factors such as DNA ploidy and novel phenotypic and genotypic markers.


Gleason score, pathologic stage, and margin status are considered category 1 prognostic factors, which are of proven prognostic significance and are useful in patient management. Factors such as tumor volume (intraglandular extent) and tumor subtype are considered category 2 prognostic factors, which show significant promise but require validation in multivariate analysis. Lymphovascular space invasion is a promising category 3 prognostic factor that needs additional study. Perineural invasion is an almost ubiquitous finding in radical prostatectomy specimens and is considered a category 3 prognostic factor. After prognostic factors have been analyzed at the histologic level, it is critical to report the findings in a clear and unambiguous fashion. The synoptic style of reporting is ideal for describing complex cancer resection specimens. A synoptic report based on an evidence-based checklist, such as the one developed by the College of American Pathologists, effectively communicates complex cancer-related data, such as radical prostatectomy specimen findings. This information is used not only for individual case management with respect to treatment and prognostication but also for purposes such as education, research, quality monitoring, and system planning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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