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J Urol. 2009 Sep;182(3):927-30. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2009.05.018. Epub 2009 Jul 17.

Pathological characteristics of prostate cancer in elderly men.

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  • 1Department of Urology, State University of New York Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York 31210, USA.



Recent guidelines recommend that men older than 75 years should not be screened for prostate cancer. However, increased life expectancy and the development of less invasive treatments have led to an interest in characterizing prostate cancer in elderly men. We determined how prostate cancer pathological characteristics differ in men older vs younger than 70 years.


We studied differences in prostate cancer pathological characteristics in autopsied glands from men 70 years old or older and compared findings to those in men younger than 70 years. All men died of causes unrelated to prostate cancer. Prostates were whole mounted at 4 mm intervals. Histological analysis was done to identify and characterize each cancer focus observed. Tumor volume was measured by computerized planimetry. Cancer was defined as clinically significant or insignificant based on established histological characteristics.


Of 211 prostates evaluated 74 were from men 70 years old or older. We identified cancer in 33 men (45%) in this age group vs in 26 of 137 (19%) younger than 70 years (p <0.001). Men older than 70 years had significantly larger cancer and more clinically significant cancer (64% vs 23%, p <0.005). Older men had more advanced stage cancer and greater Gleason scores (p <0.001).


In an autopsy study of men with no history of prostate cancer those older than 70 years were more likely to have larger and higher grade prostate cancer than younger men.

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