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J Urol. 2007 Jan;177(1):113-7.

Changing nature of high risk patients undergoing radical prostatectomy.

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Urology Section, Department of Surgery, Veterans Administration Medical Center San Francisco, San Francisco, USA.



We examined the outcomes of radical prostatectomy alone in high risk patients with prostate cancer and evaluated changes in high risk prostate cancer outcomes with time.


From 1988 to 2003, 251 men with high risk prostate cancer (prostate specific antigen more than 20 ng/ml and/or biopsy Gleason greater than 7) were identified in a cohort of 1,796 (14%) enrolled in the Shared Equal Access Regional Cancer Hospital Database. Temporal changes in clinicopathological characteristics and prostate specific antigen recurrence rates were examined stratified by 4, 4-year periods.


With time significantly more men were considered at high risk due to a high biopsy Gleason score relative to prior years, when the most common reason for being considered at high risk was increased PSA (p <0.001). Only 3% of high risk men from 2000 to 2003 had increased prostate specific antigen and high biopsy Gleason score compared to 23% from 1988 to 1991. With time there were no differences in biochemical recurrence rates (p = 0.147). Men with a high biopsy Gleason score and increased prostate specific antigen had worse outcomes than men with only a high Gleason score or men with only high prostate specific antigen (p = 0.046 and 0.081, respectively). On multivariate analysis that only included preoperative clinical characteristics only prostate specific antigen was an independent predictor of prostate specific antigen failure following radical prostatectomy (p = 0.014). There was a trend, which did not attain statistical significance, for higher biopsy Gleason scores and higher clinical stage to be associated with higher failure rates (p = 0.060 and 0.081, respectively).


Patients are designated as high risk by Gleason grade more commonly now than early in the prostate specific antigen era. Outcomes in high risk patients undergoing radical prostatectomy alone have not significantly improved with time. New treatment strategies, such as multimodality therapy, are needed to improve outcomes in high risk patients with prostate cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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