Send to

Choose Destination
Urology. 1996 Mar;47(3):370-5.

Implications of prostate micrometastases in pelvic lymph nodes: an archival tissue study.

Author information

Department of Urology, The Boston University School of Medicine, MA 02118, USA.



In the United States, radical retropubic prostatectomy for adenocarcinoma usually includes a staging pelvic lymphadenectomy. If frozen section analysis of the lymph nodes fails to reveal any evidence of metastases, the prostate is removed. We have previously noted that as many as 56% of patients undergoing radical prostatectomy demonstrate rising serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels by 4 years postoperatively. This report was designed to determine whether micrometastases undetectable by conventional pathologic methods: could have accounted for these biochemical failures.


A retrospective analysis of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded pelvic lymph node material was undertaken using a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-based assay designed to amplify messenger RNA from PSA. All specimens were obtained from a group of 57 patients with prostate cancer who had undergone staging pelvic lymphadenectomy at the time of radical prostatectomy, and whose long-term follow-up was known.


Although all of these nodes appeared to be free of tumor by conventional pathologic methods, a RT-PCR assay was used to identify evidence of prostate metastases in 44% of evaluable samples. Of these, 14 of 16 went on to manifest rising serum PSA values by 5 years postoperatively.


These results suggest that molecular staging of pelvic lymph nodes prior to planned therapy for clinically organ-confined prostate cancer may better distinguish between patients with local disease and those for whom local therapy alone will not be curative. To our knowledge, this is the first large-scale retrospective gene expression study published.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center