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J Urol. 2009 Apr;181(4):1628-33; discussion 1633-4. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2008.11.107. Epub 2009 Feb 23.

Pathological outcomes of candidates for active surveillance of prostate cancer.

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Department of Urology, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.



Active surveillance of prostate cancer has emerged as a viable treatment option for men with features of low risk disease. Five prospective studies have enrolled patients for active surveillance with varying inclusion criteria. We evaluated the pathological outcomes of men meeting published criteria for active surveillance who elected immediate radical prostatectomy to assess the risk of under grading and under staging in candidates for active surveillance.


Data were extracted from our institutional urological oncology database for all men who underwent radical prostatectomy between 1996 and 2007. The primary outcome was pathological up staging, defined as the occurrence of extracapsular extension or seminal vesicle involvement. Pathological upgrading was identified as a secondary outcome. We determined the proportion of men who would have qualified for each published active surveillance study and the respective rates of upgrading and up staging in each group.


We identified 1,097 men who underwent radical prostatectomy with a mean age of 59 years. Overall 28% of the men experienced a Gleason upgrade, 21% had extracapsular extension and 11% had seminal vesicle involvement. In men qualifying based on published active surveillance inclusion criteria, rates of upgrading varied between 23% and 35%, the incidence of extracapsular extension ranged from 7% to 19% and seminal vesicle involvement ranged from 2% to 9%.


Varying entry criteria for active surveillance show different rates of adverse pathological features at radical prostatectomy. Predictably fewer men met the more stringent criteria but these men had a lower incidence of seminal vesicle involvement and extracapsular extension. Such data can be used to advise men of the risks of active surveillance.

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