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Prostate. 1997 Jun 15;32(1):59-64.

Prostate-specific antigen-detected prostate cancer (stage T1c): an analysis of whole-mount prostatectomy specimens.

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Department of Surgery, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC 20307-5001, USA.



Clinical and pathological staging of prostate cancer has been, and remains, problematic. Since prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-detected tumors are often discerned during "screening," what are their significance?


We analyzed 67 consecutive patients with stage T1c prostate cancer undergoing radical prostatectomy at our institution from August 1, 1991-September 12, 1995, and who had whole-mount specimen processing. Diagnosis was determined in all cases by transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsy.


The mean age of our patients was 63 years, and the mean PSA at time of diagnosis was 8.6 ng/ml (median, 7.2 ng/ml). There was organ-confined cancer in 31/67 (46%) patients; 17/67 (25%) had periprostatic fat infiltration, and of these 5(7%) had seminal vesicle involvement. Thirty-one of 67 (46%) had positive surgical margins. Twenty-two (33%) had a Gleason sum of > or = 7 in the final pathological specimen. Insignificant tumors (dominant tumor volume < 0.20 cc) were found in only 4 cases. Smaller tumors were more likely to be found when the PSA was < 10 ng/ml. Multifocal disease was found in 64/67 (96%) prostate specimens.


This study adds impetus to the growing realization that nonpalpable prostate cancer, detected because of elevated PSA, is rarely insignificant. Our findings add further emphasis to the fact that patients diagnosed by PSA elevation have, for the most part, significant cancer that should be treated aggressively.

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