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Article of the Week: Predicting pathological outcomes in patients undergoing RARP for high-risk prostate cancer

Every Week the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

Finally, the third post under the Article of the Week heading on the homepage will consist of additional material or media. This week we feature a video from Dr. Firas Abdollah, discussing his paper. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Predicting Pathologic Outcomes in Patients Undergoing Robot-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy for High Risk Prostate Cancer:  A Preoperative Nomogram

Firas Abdollah, Dane E. Klett, Akshay Sood, Jesse D. Sammon, Daniel PucherilDeepansh Dalela, Mireya Diaz, James O. Peabody, Quoc-Dien Trinh* and Mani Menon


Vattikuti Urology Institute, Center for Outcomes Research Analytics and Evaluation, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI, and *Division of Urologic Surgery/Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Womens Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA



To identify which high-risk patients with prostate cancer may harbour favourable pathological outcomes at radical prostatectomy (RP).


We evaluated 810 patients with high-risk prostate cancer, defined as having one or more of the following: PSA level of >20 ng/mL, Gleason score ≥8, clinical stage ≥T2c. Patients underwent robot-assisted RP (RARP) with pelvic lymph node dissection, between 2003 and 2012, in one centre. Only 1.6% (13/810) of patients received any adjuvant treatment. Favourable pathological outcome was defined as specimen-confined disease (SCD; pT2–T3a, node negative, and negative surgical margins) at RARP-specimen. Logistic regression models were used to test the relationship among all available predicators and harbouring SCD. A logistic regression coefficient-based nomogram was constructed and internally validated using 200 bootstrap resamples. Kaplan–Meier method estimated biochemical recurrence (BCR)-free and cancer-specific mortality (CSM)-free survival rates, after stratification according to pathological disease status.


Overall, 55.2% patients harboured SCD at RARP. At multivariable analysis, PSA level, clinical stage, primary/secondary Gleason scores, and maximum percentage tumour quartiles were all independent predictors of SCD (all P < 0.04). A nomogram based on these variables showed 76% discrimination accuracy in predicting SCD, and very favourable calibration characteristics. Patients with SCD had significantly higher 8-year BCR- (72.7% vs 31.7%, P < 0.001) and CSM-free survival rates (100% vs 86.9%, P < 0.001) than patients with non-SCD.


We developed a novel nomogram predicting SCD at RARP. Patients with SCD achieved favourable long-term BCR- and CSM-free survival rates after RARP. The nomogram may be used to support clinical decision-making, and aid in selection of patients with high-risk prostate cancer most likely to benefit from RARP.

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