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Urology. 1995 Dec;46(6):831-6.

The influence of prostate size on cancer detection.

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Department of Urology, James Buchanan Brady Foundation, New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center, NY 10021, USA.



To determine if cancer detection rates vary with prostate size using a sextant core biopsy pattern.


We reviewed 1021 transrectal ultrasound (TRUS)-guided sextant pattern prostate biopsies to determine if cancer detection varied based on prostate size. Prostate size was determined using a computer generated elliptical estimation method. Sextant core biopsies were taken, and the patients divided into groups based on estimated size of the prostate and biopsy outcome. Large prostates were those that were estimated by TRUS as 50 cc or more. Prostates were considered small if they were less than 50 cc. Groups were compared based on size and biopsy outcome.


Adenocarcinoma was detected in 33% (334 of 1021) of the patients. Large prostates were noted in 34% (346 of 1021), of which 23% (80 of 346) had cancer detected by sextant biopsy. Small prostates were noted in 66% (675 of 1021), of which 38% (254 of 675) had cancer detected. The difference in cancer detection in large and small glands using a sextant pattern was statistically significant (P < 0.01). Patients with positive biopsies had significantly smaller prostate sizes (40 cc +/- 26) when compared with those with negative biopsies (51 cc +/- 33) (P < 0.01). Only 14% (8 of 58) of patients with gland sizes 100 cc or greater had positive sextant biopsies while 49% (118 of 239) with prostates 25 cc or less had cancer detected. Multivariate statistical analysis was used to control for differences in age, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), PSA density, TRUS findings, and digital rectal examination between the large and small prostate groups. The difference in cancer detection persisted (P < 0.05)


Currently no evidence exists to support differing cancer rates based on gland size alone. Our cancer detection rate using a sextant pattern was higher in men with prostates less than 50 cc, and patients diagnosed with cancer had significantly smaller prostates than those with a negative sextant biopsy. Our data suggest that significant sampling error may occur in men with large glands, and more biopsies may be needed under these circumstances. The effects of tumor volume, focality, and specimen size in relation to overall gland size may contribute to these findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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