Changing Trends in Surgical Management of Prostate Cancer: The End of Overtreatment?

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Huland H., Graefen M.

European Urology 2015 68:2 (175-178)

The use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for screening or early detection of prostate cancer (PCa) results in significant stage migration toward more favorable stages and a proven decrease in PCa mortality but is accompanied by substantial rates of overdiagnosis and overtreatment. Acknowledgement of these downsides and endeavors to avoid them have led to substantial changes in treatment patterns. Many centers have reported dramatic changes, with increases in active surveillance (AS) of early cancers and local treatment of advanced disease. To estimate the impact of this development on our radical prostatectomy (RP) series, we analyzed changes in cancer and patient selection over the past 15 yr. Despite a trend toward decreased utilization of RP in Germany, the annual caseload at our institution increased due to regionalization, from 382 RPs in 2000 to 2145 in 2011, and has been stable for the past 3 yr (2106 RPs in 2014). The rate of RPs performed in patients with low-risk PCa, AS candidates, or men with a pure Gleason 6 pattern in the RP specimen dropped from 60%, 38.2%, and 56.2%, respectively, in 2004 to 27%, 14.7%, and 10%, respectively, in 2011-2013. Patients undergoing RP with solely Gleason 6 cancer were younger on average (aged 61 yr) than patients in higher risk groups (aged 65 yr). The rate of histologically insignificant PCa was low, ranging from 1% to 8.8% depending on the definition used. Patient selection is the other important tool used to avoid overtreatment. Long-term other-cause mortality (OCM) should be low in adequately selected RP candidates, and after a minimum follow-up of 15 yr, overall OCM was 14.8%. The OCM rate was 10.2% in men aged <65 yr and 24.3% in men aged ?65 yr. The current analysis documents a clear shift in utilization of RP toward significant PCa in men with long life expectancy. Based on patient and cancer selection as described, the long-standing discussion of overtreatment with RP might become invalid. Patient summary Discussion of possible overtreatment has led to dramatic changes in indication for radical prostatectomy (RP). We analyzed a large European patient cohort and found that RP is rarely done in early cancers but is used more for aggressive tumors. Those who underwent RP had long life expectancy and benefit from surgery. With this change in application, overtreatment with RP is unlikely.


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