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Urol Int. 2006;77(2):130-4.

Characterization of biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy.

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  • 1Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.



This study sought to characterize the variables that predict postoperative prostate-specific antigen doubling time (PSADT) and biochemical recurrence time (RT) in patients who have failed radical prostatectomy (RP).


A total of 477 patients underwent RP at our institution for clinically localized prostate cancer. Of these patients, 64 (13.4%) demonstrated evidence of postoperative biochemical failure. PSADT and biochemical RT were calculated for all patients. PSADT and RT were correlated with clinical variables including preoperative PSA level, patient age, race, prostate weight and with pathologic characteristics of the operative specimen using uni- and multivariate analyses. In addition, PSADT and RT were also correlated with each other and with the time to postoperative adjuvant therapy.


Median postoperative PSADT for patients who recurred after radical prostatectomy was 9.7 months. Postoperative PSADT was predicted by lymph node involvement (p < 0.001) and Gleason grade (p = 0.06). Rapid PSADT also correlated with institution of postoperative adjuvant therapy (p = 0.003). Median biochemical RT for all patients was 6.7 months. Gleason grade and pathologic stage were found to be predictors of RT (p < 0.002). Postoperative PSADT did not correlate with RT (r = 0.08; p = 0.53). PSADT and RT were not different between Caucasian- versus African-Americans.


These results serve to better characterize our cohort of patients who have evidence of biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy. Aggressiveness of recurrent disease (i.e. PSADT) seems to be predicted by lymph node involvement and higher pathologic grade. Furthermore, the lack of correlation of RT and PSADT suggests that early recurrences are not necessarily aggressive tumors: conversely, aggressive recurrences may occur at any point in the postoperative period. This information may aid in the postoperative treatment of recurrent disease and help to better define those patients who are at higher risk for developing clinical recurrence and who would benefit from greater vigilance during the postoperative period.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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