Tag Archive for: prostatectomy

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Surgery or Radiation in Prostate Cancer?

I am sure many of you are familiar with the clinical situation I see every week of a man with newly-diagnosed prostate cancer asking me about his options. While we steer many men with low risk prostate cancer towards surveillance nowadays, for those with intermediate or high risk disease intervention is usually their best option, especially if they have a long life expectancy. This gives us the dilemma of whether to recommend surgery or radiotherapy.

In Oxford, we have a long and pioneering history of evidence-based medicine, and I lament the lack of RCTs in this field. The only one, ProtecT, which is being led also by Oxford, will not report before 2016, and will at least in part be subject to volunteer bias. Now, the question of surgery or radiotherapy for prostate cancer is not a new question. Millions of men have undergone these treatments across the globe and over the decades, and many other investigators have evaluated this question.

Most of these previous studies suggest that surgery in indeed superior but the main problem with them is inadequate control for selection bias (what we term in the trade as confounding by indication) – i.e. that men undergoing surgery are fitter and have better prognosis from their cancer point of view than men undergoing radiotherapy, and thus it’s not a fair comparison. Another problem with these previous studies is that the datasets used are not very comprehensive – not all men are included, and we don’t know all their important risk factors. All this makes it difficult to be confident in their results.

What is different about the BMJ study (https://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g1502) is that the dataset and the statistics were top-notch. More than 98% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer in Sweden from 1998 onwards were included, and virtually all important data points were recorded with <2% incomplete data. Men were followed for up to 15 years and 4 different sets of statistical models were done to balance the surgery and radiotherapy groups with each other.

Remarkably, all sets of models came up with the same answer: that surgery led to better survival results than radiotherapy, especially for the men with intermediate and high risk prostate cancer and even more so if they had a long life expectancy. If I were a barrister, I would say this study provides strong evidence to build the case that surgery is a better option in survival terms for the majority of men who need treatment for localized prostate cancer.  Medicine, like law, is never about absolutes, it’s about risk and probability. Can I prove that surgery is better than radiotherapy from this study – no; but there certainly seems a strong case to argue.

The current BJUI Article of the Week is another excellent article on the same subject (https://www.bjuinternational.com/article-of-the-week/prostate-cancer-sun-shines-light-on-surgical-survival/)

You can download Drs Sooriakumaran & Wiklund’s slideshow on their article by clicking here (1.5mb)

Prasanna Sooriakumaran is a robotic prostate & bladder cancer surgeon and academic at Oxford and Karolinska. @PSooriakumaranu

 

Article of the week – Prostate cancer: Sun shines light on surgical survival

Every week the Editor-in-Chief selects the 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.

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

Radical prostatectomy vs radiotherapy vs observation among older patients with clinically localized prostate cancer: a comparative effectiveness evaluation

Maxine Sun*, Jesse D. Sammon, Andreas Becker*, Florian Roghmann*, Zhe Tian*, Simon P. Kim, Alexandre Larouche*, Firas Abdollah*, Jim C. Hu§, Pierre I. Karakiewicz* and Quoc-Dien Trinh**

*Cancer Prognostics and Health Outcomes Unit, University of Montreal Health Center, Montreal, Canada, VUI Center for Outcomes Research, Analytics and Evaluation, Henry Ford Health Systems, Detroit, MI, Department of Urology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, §Department of Urology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA, Department of Urology, University of Montreal Health Center, Montreal, Canada and **Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

MS and J.D.S contributed equally to the work.

Read the full article
OBJECTIVE

• To compare efficacy between radical prostatectomy (RP), radiotherapy and observation with respect to overall survival (OS) in patients with clinically localized prostate cancer (PCa).

METHODS

• Using data (1988–2005) from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare linked database, 67 087 men with localized PCa were identified.

• The prevalence of the initial treatment strategy was quantified according to patients’ life expectancy ([LE] <10 vs ≥10 years) at initial diagnosis and according to tumour stage. To reduce the unmeasured bias associated with treatment, we performed an instrumental variable analysis.

• Stratified (by stage and LE) Cox regression and competing-risks regression analyses were generated for the prediction of OS and cancer-specific mortality, respectively.

RESULTS

• Among patients with <10 years of LE, most were treated with radiotherapy (49%) or observation (47%). Among patients with ≥10 years of LE, most received radiotherapy (49%), followed by RP (26%).

• In men with <10 years of LE, RP and radiotherapy were not different with respect to OS (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.81, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.45–1.48, P = 0.499). Conversely, in men with ≥10 years of LE, RP was associated with an improved OS compared with observation (HR: 0.59, 95% CI: 0.49–0.71, P < 0.001) and radiotherapy (HR: 0.66, 95% CI: 0.56–0.79, P < 0.001).

• Similar results were recorded in competing-risks regression analyses.

CONCLUSION

• In patients with an estimated LE ≥10 years at initial diagnosis, RP was associated with improved survival compared with radiotherapy and observation, regardless of disease stage.

Editorial – Prostate cancer surgery vs radiation: has the fat lady sung?

The current article by Sun et al. [1] representing a number of institutions involved in prostate cancer treatment provision is thought-provoking and hypothesis-generating. The authors contention when mining Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results data for 67 000 men who had localized prostate cancer between 1988 and 2005 is that those with a life expectancy >10 years had less likelihood of prostate cancer death when treated with surgery rather than by radiotherapy or being left to observation. The Scandinavians have already shown, in the randomized study by Hugosson et al. [2], that if you have your prostate cancer removed you have less likelihood of symptomatic local recurrence, lower likelihood of metastasis and progression, and a 29% reduced likelihood of prostate cancer death. The current study asks the question ‘Is radiation therapy less likely to provide a long-term cure for prostate cancer than surgery?’ and gives an answer in the affirmative.

The current paper, in its way, neatly encapsulates the contemporary angst generated in the community when prostate cancer screening, diagnosis and therapy are discussed. The Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening (PLCO) trial [3] allegedly shows no benefit from treatment over observation and contends perhaps that we surgeons and radiation oncologists are harm-workers, not life-savers. The PLCO has a 52% PSA contamination in its control arm [3]. That flawed trial compared screening with de facto screening and produced, in my view, a null hypothesis. How do we explain the paradox of a 44% reduction in prostate cancer-specific mortality between 1993 and 2009? How do we explain the disconnect between these trials and the facts? What do we do with the data not yet considered by the expert panels showing that early PSA testing at age <50 years is highly predictive of subsequent lethal prostate cancer? [4]

Clinicians are rapidly moving to an era of judicious risk assessment. This can only be done after biopsy is performed. We now frequently enrol patients with apparently indolent prostate cancer into surveillance protocols [5]. So the question should be ‘If the disease found on biopsy is moderate to high risk, and potentially lethal for that man, should we remove his prostate surgically or radiate it with intensity-modulated radiation therapy, brachytherapy, proton therapy, +/- hormone therapy?’.

As a surgeon I have an inherent dislike of combining hormone therapy in primary treatment. At least 50% of men in high-risk prostate cancer cohorts who receive radiation therapy also receive hormone therapy as adjuvant or neoadjuvant treatment [6]. Hormone therapy has a myriad of side effects. Even if the playing field was level between surgery and radiation therapy, the avoidance of hormone therapy as a first-line treatment gives surgery a seductive advantage.

The authors of the current report show a significant survival advantage in the cohort for surgery over radiation therapy and observation. There will never be a randomized trial between the two potentially curative treatment methods surgery and radiation. The scourge of commercial interest with spurious claims of superiority of one form of therapy over another, proton beam vs intensity-modulated radiation therapy, robotics vs high-intensity focused ultrasonography, means that we risk having our decisions regarding appropriate therapy formed by multibillion dollar technology companies with powerful marketing capacity. The current paper confirms what is self-evident: untreated localized prostate cancer can be lethal. Surgery and radiation therapy lower the morbidity and mortality from prostate cancer. Which is the better method of curative therapy is moot, but we do know that cure is very much predicated on the expertise and location of the practitioner.

We know mostly when and who to treat and what treatments work well. In my view, the prostate cancer testing debate resonates with the contemporary discussion about childhood immunization for infectious diseases. Some parents now, who clearly cannot remember the devastating epidemics of polio and other childhood illnesses, refuse to immunize their children. Prostate cancer practitioners who did not live in the quite recent era where the initial presentation of prostate cancer was bone metastasis +/− crush fracture to the vertebra and sometimes paraplegia, may be unknowingly steering us backwards.

At the recent 2013 AUA meeting, Adams et al. [7] reported on the fate of men not screened for prostate cancer, i.e. those men who presented with a PSA >100 ng/mL. There was a 3-year survival rate of 9.7%, a 19.7% cord compression rate and a 64% hospitalization rate. Those who do not learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them.

Anthony J. Costello
Department of Surgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Read the full article

References

  1. Sun M, Sammon JD, Becker A et al. Radical prostatectomy vs radiotherapy vs observation among older patients with clinically localized prostate cancer: a comparative effectiveness evaluationBJU Int 2014; 113: 200–208
  2. Hugosson J, Carlsson S, Aus G et al. Mortality results from the Goteborg randomised population-based prostate-cancer screening trialLancet Oncol 2010; 11: 725–732
  3. Andriole GL, Crawford ED, Grubb RL 3rd et al. Prostate cancer screening in the randomized Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial: mortality results after 13 years of follow-upJ Natl Cancer Inst 2012; 104: 125–132
  4. Vickers AJ, Ulmert D, Sjoberg DD et al. Strategy for detection of prostate cancer based on relation between prostate specific antigen at age 40–55 and long term risk of metastasis: case-control studyBMJ 2013; 346: f2023
  5. Evans SM, Millar JL, Davis ID et al. Patterns of care for men diagnosed with prostate cancer in Victoria from 2008 to 2011Med J Aust 2013; 198: 540–545
  6. Cooperberg MR, Vickers AJ, Broering JM, Carroll PR. Comparative risk-adjusted mortality outcomes after primary surgery, radiotherapy, or androgen-deprivation therapy for localized prostate cancerCancer 2010; 116: 5226–5234
  7. Adams W, Elliott CS, Reese JH. The fate of men presenting with PSA over 100 ng/mL: what happens when we do not screen for prostate cancer? AUA 2013. Abstract 2696

 

Article of the week: PCa-specific mortality increased in older men with low-risk disease

Every week the Editor-in-Chief selects the 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 prominent members 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. Aizer discussing his paper.

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

Initial management of prostate-specific antigen-detected, low-risk prostate cancer and the risk of death from prostate cancer

Ayal A. Aizer*, Ming-Hui Chen, Jona Hattangadi* and Anthony V. D’Amico

*Harvard Radiation Oncology Program, Boston, MA, Department of Radiation Oncology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, and, Department of Statistics, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA

Read the full article
OBJECTIVE

• To evaluate whether older age in men with low-risk prostate cancer increases the risk of prostate cancer-specific mortality (PCSM) when non-curative approaches are selected as initial management.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

• The study cohort consisted of 27 969 men, with a median age of 67 years, with prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-detected, low-risk prostate cancer (clinical category T1c, Gleason score ≤6, and PSA ≤10) identified by the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results programme between 2004 and 2007.

• Fine and Gray’s competing risk regression analysis was used to evaluate whether management with non-curative vs curative therapy was associated with an increased risk of PCSM after adjusting for PSA level, age at diagnosis and year of diagnosis.

RESULTS

• After a median follow-up of 2.75 years, 1121 men died, 60 (5.4%) from prostate cancer.

• Both older age (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] 1.05; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02–1.08; P < 0.001) and non-curative treatment (AHR 3.34; 95% CI 1.97–5.67; P < 0.001) were significantly associated with an increased risk of PCSM.

• Men > the median age experienced increased estimates of PCSM when treated with non-curative as opposed to curative intent (P< 0.001); this finding was not seen in men ≤ the median age (P = 0.17).

CONCLUSION

• Pending prospective validation, our study suggests that non-curative approaches for older men with ‘low-risk’ prostate cancer result in an increased risk of PCSM, suggesting the need for alternative approaches to exclude occult, high grade prostate cancer in these men.

 

Read Previous Articles of the Week

 

Editorial: The age old question: who benefits from prostate cancer treatment?

Widespread PSA-based screening has dramatically altered the profile of newly diagnosed prostate cancer in many countries. Although screening effectively decreases the rates of metastatic disease and prostate cancer death [1], the increasing proportion of low-risk disease necessitates a critical assessment of the need for aggressive therapy.

Active surveillance and watchful waiting are potential alternatives to delay or avoid the need for treatment in carefully selected patients. The key issue is determining which patients are appropriate for conservative management. Although these approaches are often targeted toward elderly men, such men are more likely to be diagnosed with high-risk disease. A recent study by Scosyrev et al. [2] raised concern about excess prostate cancer mortality attributable to under-treatment in the elderly.

Overall, there is very little Level 1 evidence to guide prostate cancer treatment selection. One such trial, the Swedish Prostate Cancer Group 4 (SPCG-4), showed that radical prostatectomy significantly improved survival compared with watchful waiting [3]; however, that study examined a primarily clinically detected population from the 1990s. Subsequently, the Prostate Cancer Intervention versus Observation Trial (PIVOT) randomized US male veterans diagnosed with prostate cancer from 1994 to 2002 to radical prostatectomy vs observation [4]. At 10 years, they reported no significant difference in overall survival between the two arms in the intent-to-treat analysis (hazard ratio 0.88; 95% CI 0.71–1.08, P = 0.22). However, that study was smaller than anticipated owing to difficulty with recruitment and there was a high rate of crossovers between the intervention and observation arms. Per-protocol analysis was not reported for PIVOT and the prostate cancer landscape has continued to change in the past decade, raising unanswered questions over what the results would be if we compared contemporary men who were actually treated to those who were not.

This is the knowledge gap addressed by Aizer et al. [5] who used Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data for 27 969 US men diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer from 2004 to 2007. Overall, 67.1% of these men received radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy, while >30% underwent active surveillance or watchful waiting. Using competing risks regression, they showed that both age and non-curative treatment were associated with a significantly higher short-term prostate cancer-specific mortality. These results should be interpreted with caution, however, since they comprise observational data with great potential for confounding. Interestingly, at a short median follow-up of only 2.75 years, 5.4% of these men with presumed low-risk disease died from prostate cancer. Recently, there has been debate over whether Gleason 6 disease should really be considered a cancer [6], but these data highlight the limitations of current clinical staging, such that even presumed low-risk disease may be understaged. The authors suggest that use of a more extended biopsy scheme before active surveillance might reduce the risk of early progression due to undersampling. MRI represents another potential non-invasive treatment method to improve clinical staging and patient selection for active surveillance in the future [7].

Stacy Loeb
Department of Urology, New York University, New York, NY, USA

Read the full article

References

  1. Schroder FH, Hugosson J, Roobol MJ et al. Prostate-cancer mortality at 11 years of follow-upN Engl J Med 2012; 366: 981–990
  2. Scosyrev E, Messing EM, Mohile S et al. Prostate cancer in the elderly: frequency of advanced disease at presentation and disease-specific mortalityCancer 2012; 118: 3062–3070
  3. Bill-Axelson A, Holmberg L, Ruutu M et al. Radical prostatectomy versus watchful waiting in early prostate cancerN Engl J Med 2011; 364: 1708–1717
  4. Wilt TJ, Brawer MK, Jones KM et al. Radical prostatectomy versus observation for localized prostate cancerN Engl J Med 2012;367: 203–212
  5. Aizer AA, Chen MH, Hattangadi J, D’Amico AV. Initial management of prostate-specific-antigen-detected, low-risk prostate cancer and the risk of death from prostate cancerBJU Int 2014; 113: 43–50
  6. Carter HB, Partin AW, Walsh PC et al. Gleason score 6 adenocarcinoma: should it be labeled as cancer? J Clin Oncol 2012; 30:4294–4296
  7. Vargas HA, Akin O, Afaq A et al. Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Predicting Prostate Biopsy Findings in Patients Considered for Active Surveillance of Clinically Low Risk Prostate CancerJ Urol 2012; 188: 1732–1738

 

Video: PCa in older men, is it really low-grade disease?

 

Initial management of prostate-specific antigen-detected, low-risk prostate cancer and the risk of death from prostate cancer

Ayal A. Aizer*, Ming-Hui Chen, Jona Hattangadi* and Anthony V. D’Amico

*Harvard Radiation Oncology Program, Boston, MA, Department of Radiation Oncology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, and, Department of Statistics, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA

Read the full article
OBJECTIVE

• To evaluate whether older age in men with low-risk prostate cancer increases the risk of prostate cancer-specific mortality (PCSM) when non-curative approaches are selected as initial management.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

• The study cohort consisted of 27 969 men, with a median age of 67 years, with prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-detected, low-risk prostate cancer (clinical category T1c, Gleason score ≤6, and PSA ≤10) identified by the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results programme between 2004 and 2007.

• Fine and Gray’s competing risk regression analysis was used to evaluate whether management with non-curative vs curative therapy was associated with an increased risk of PCSM after adjusting for PSA level, age at diagnosis and year of diagnosis.

RESULTS

• After a median follow-up of 2.75 years, 1121 men died, 60 (5.4%) from prostate cancer.

• Both older age (adjusted hazard ratio [AHR] 1.05; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02–1.08; P < 0.001) and non-curative treatment (AHR 3.34; 95% CI 1.97–5.67; P < 0.001) were significantly associated with an increased risk of PCSM.

• Men > the median age experienced increased estimates of PCSM when treated with non-curative as opposed to curative intent (P< 0.001); this finding was not seen in men ≤ the median age (P = 0.17).

CONCLUSION

• Pending prospective validation, our study suggests that non-curative approaches for older men with ‘low-risk’ prostate cancer result in an increased risk of PCSM, suggesting the need for alternative approaches to exclude occult, high grade prostate cancer in these men.

 

A Rather Nasty Surprise

Recently, I encountered, and indeed I actually caused, a complication of robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) which was new to me, and one which I felt that I should share with other surgeons.

PM, a 60-year old teacher, underwent a completely routine RARP, which took less than 2 hours to perform on a Saturday morning. During Sunday night he developed severe abdominal pain and distension. By Monday morning he was in distress with rebound tenderness and marked tachycardia. A CT scan was requested, which revealed a caecal volvulus. A laparotomy by a general surgeon confirmed the diagnosis and an urgent right hemicolectomy was undertaken. The patient made an uneventful recovery and, I am pleased to say, is still speaking to me. Histology confirmed an ischaemic caecum twisted on its rather thickened mesentery, with no perforation present. The prostate itself contained a Gleason 3+4=7 adenocarcinoma, without evidence of extra-prostatic extension.

Although robotic assistance provides the benefits of very precise, virtually bloodless surgery, with 10 times magnification and 3D vision, it also carries the risk of a specific set of complications. These need to be dealt with promptly and efficiently and can usually be completely resolved. Failure to recognise post-operative problems, such as bowel injury, intra-abdominal bleeding or port-site hernia, however, can place the patient in severe and increasing jeopardy. We recently published an article in the BJUI entitled “Lessons Learned from 1000 robot-assisted radical prostatectomy” in which we discussed how many of the problems could be avoided, and, if they occur how they can be best dealt with. One key message is the importance of an early CT scan to diagnose the nature of a post-operative problem, rather than crossing fingers and hoping things will settle.

I am hoping that this blog, and the BJUI article mentioned above, will stimulate other surgeons to discuss openly and frankly the problems that they themselves have encountered, either with regular laparoscopy or with the da Vinci robot, and how they dealt with them. Learning the lessons, not only from one’s own errors and omissions, but also from those of others, seems the best way to become, and continue to be, a safe and successful surgeon.  

 

Roger Kirby, The Prostate Centre, London

Article of the week: An open and shut case: outcomes similar for open and robotic prostatectomy

Every week the Editor-in-Chief selects the 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 of Jonathan Silberstein discussing his paper.

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

A case-mix-adjusted comparison of early oncological outcomes of open and robotic prostatectomy performed by experienced high volume surgeons

Jonathan L. Silberstein*, Daniel Su*, Leonard Glickman*, Matthew Kent†, Gal Keren-Paz*, Andrew J. Vickers†, Jonathan A. Coleman*‡, James A. Eastham*‡, Peter T. Scardino*‡ and Vincent P. Laudone*‡

*Department of Surgery, Urology Service, and †Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and ‡Department of Urology,Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY, USA

Read the full article
OBJECTIVE

• To compare early oncological outcomes of robot assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) and open radical prostatectomy (ORP) performed by high volume surgeons in a contemporary cohort.

METHODS

• We reviewed patients who underwent radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer by high volume surgeons performing RALP or ORP.

• Biochemical recurrence (BCR) was defined as PSA  0.1 ng/mL or PSA  0.05 ng/mL with receipt of additional therapy.

• A Cox regression model was used to evaluate the association between surgical approach and BCR using a predictive model (nomogram) based on preoperative stage, grade, volume of disease and PSA.

• To explore the impact of differences between surgeons, multivariable analyses were repeated using surgeon in place of approach.

RESULTS

• Of 1454 patients included, 961 (66%) underwent ORP and 493 (34%) RALP and there were no important differences in cancer characteristics by group.

• Overall, 68% of patients met National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) criteria for intermediate or high risk disease and 9% had lymph node involvement. Positive margin rates were 15% for both open and robotic groups.

• In a multivariate model adjusting for preoperative risk there was no significant difference in BCR rates for RALP compared with ORP (hazard ratio 0.88; 95% CI 0.56–1.39; P = 0.6). The interaction term between © 2013 The Authors 206 BJU International © 2013 BJU International | 111, 206–212 | doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11638.x Urological Oncology nomogram risk and procedure type was not statistically significant.

• Using NCCN risk group as the covariate in a Cox model gave similar results (hazard ratio 0.74; 95% CI 0.47–1.17; P = 0.2). The interaction term between NCCN risk and procedure type was also non-significant.

• Differences in BCR rates between techniques (4.1% vs 3.3% adjusted risk at 2 years) were smaller than those between surgeons (2.5% to 4.8% adjusted risk at 2 years).

CONCLUSIONS

• In this relatively high risk cohort of patients undergoing radical prostatectomy we found no evidence to suggest that ORP resulted in better early oncological outcomes then RALP.

• Oncological outcome after radical prostatectomy may be driven more by surgeon factors than surgical approach.

 

Read Previous Articles of the Week

Editorial: Oncological outcomes: open vs robotic prostatectomy

John W. Davis and Prokar Dasgupta*

Departments of Urology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA and *Guy’s Hospital, Kings College London, London, UK
e-mail: [email protected]

For men at significant risk of dying from untreated prostate cancer within reasonably estimated remaining life spans, which technique offers the best disease-free survival: open radical prostatectomy (RP) or robot-assisted RP (RARP)? The practice patterns in many countries suggest RARP, but many concerns have been raised about the RARP technique for high-risk disease, including positive surgical margin rates, adequate lymph node dissections (LNDs), and the learning curve. In this issue of the BJUI, Silberstein et al provide a convincing study, short of a randomised trial, that suggests that in experienced hands both techniques can be effective, and that surgeon experience had a stronger effect than technique. In contrast to large population-based studies, this study sought to take the learning curve and low-volume surgeon variables out of the equation by restricting the inclusion criteria to four high-volume surgeons from a single centre. The follow-up is short (one year), and may underestimate the true biochemical relapse rates, and needs follow-up study, but for now offers no difference in relapse rates nor pathological staging outcomes.

Beyond the comparative effectiveness research (CER), Silberstein et al also provide a valuable vision for prostate cancer surgeons using any standard technique. Several recent landmark studies on PSA screening, the Prostate cancer Intervention Versus Observation Trial (PIVOT), and comparisons of metastatic progression between RP and radiation, all indicate the need to shift our practice pattern towards active surveillance for lower risk patients (with or without adjunctive focal therapy, but the former still experimental in our view), and curative therapy for intermediate- to high-risk disease. Such a practice pattern is evident when you compare this study (2007–2010) with a similar effort from this institution (2003–2005) comparing RP with laparoscopic RP (LRP). In the former study, >55% had low-risk disease compared with <35% from the current study. As expected, the present study shows higher N1 stage (9%) and positive surgical margin rates (15%) than the former (7% and 11%, respectively). While erectile function recovery was not presented, the authors noted the familiar reality that patients demand nerve sparing whenever feasible, only 2% in this study had bilateral non-nervesparing and 91% had a combination of bilateral or partial nerve sparing. The number of LNs retrieved has increased from 12–13/case to 15–16, and the authors state that even with nomogram-based exclusion of mandatory pelvic LNDs with <2% risk of N1 staging, this modern cohort had a pelvic LND in 94% of cases, including external iliac, obturator, and hypogastric templates.

We fully concur with this practice pattern, and have recently provided a video-based illustration of how to learn the technique, and early experience showing an increase in median LN counts from eight to 16, and an increase in positive LNs from 7% to 18%. By risk group, our positive-LN rate was 3% for low risk, 9% for intermediate risk, and 39% for high risk. We certainly hope that future multi-institutional studies will no longer reflect what these authors found, in that RARP surgeons are five times more likely to omit pelvic LNDs than open, even for high-risk cancers.

Finally, Silberstein et al and related CER publications leave us the question, does each publication on CER in RP have to be comprehensive (i.e. oncological, functional, and morbidity) or can it focus on one question. Members of this authorship line have published the ‘trifecta’ (disease control, potency, and continence) and others the ‘pentafecta’ (the trifecta plus negative surgical margins and no complications). Indeed, Eastham and Scardino stated in an editorial that ‘data on cancer control, continence, or potency in isolation are not sufficient for decision making and that patients agreeing to RP should be informed of functional results in the context of cancer control’. We feel that the answer should be no, focused manuscripts have their merit and publication space/word limits create this reality. But we should not discount the sometimes surprising results when one institution using the same surgeons and methodologies publishes on the broader topic: the Touijer et al. paper discussed above found the same oncological equivalence between RP and LRP as this comparison of RP and RARP, but also included functional data showing significantly lower recovery of continence with LRP. Nevertheless, the recent body of work in the BJUI now provides a well-rounded picture of modern CER including oncological outcomes, complicationsrecovery of erectile dysfunction, continence and costs. We feel it is reasonable to conclude that patients should be counselled that RARP has potential benefits in terms of blood loss, hospital stay, and complications (at increased costs), but oncological and functional results are probably based upon surgeon experience.

Abbreviations

CER, comparative effectiveness research; LN(D), lymph node dissection; (RA)(L)RP, (robot-assisted) (laparoscopic) radical prostatectomy

Read the full article

Dr Silberstein’s commentary on open vs robotic prostatectomy

A case-mix-adjusted comparison of early oncological outcomes of open and robotic prostatectomy performed by experienced high volume surgeons

Jonathan L. Silberstein*, Daniel Su*, Leonard Glickman*, Matthew Kent†, Gal Keren-Paz*, Andrew J. Vickers†, Jonathan A. Coleman*‡, James A. Eastham*‡, Peter T. Scardino*‡ and Vincent P. Laudone*‡

*Department of Surgery, Urology Service, and †Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and ‡Department of Urology,Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY, USA

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OBJECTIVE

• To compare early oncological outcomes of robot assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) and open radical prostatectomy (ORP) performed by high volume surgeons in a contemporary cohort.

METHODS

• We reviewed patients who underwent radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer by high volume surgeons performing RALP or ORP.

• Biochemical recurrence (BCR) was defined as PSA  0.1 ng/mL or PSA  0.05 ng/mL with receipt of additional therapy.

• A Cox regression model was used to evaluate the association between surgical approach and BCR using a predictive model (nomogram) based on preoperative stage, grade, volume of disease and PSA.

• To explore the impact of differences between surgeons, multivariable analyses were repeated using surgeon in place of approach.

RESULTS

• Of 1454 patients included, 961 (66%) underwent ORP and 493 (34%) RALP and there were no important differences in cancer characteristics by group.

• Overall, 68% of patients met National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) criteria for intermediate or high risk disease and 9% had lymph node involvement. Positive margin rates were 15% for both open and robotic groups.

• In a multivariate model adjusting for preoperative risk there was no significant difference in BCR rates for RALP compared with ORP (hazard ratio 0.88; 95% CI 0.56–1.39; P = 0.6). The interaction term between © 2013 The Authors 206 BJU International © 2013 BJU International | 111, 206–212 | doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11638.x Urological Oncology nomogram risk and procedure type was not statistically significant.

• Using NCCN risk group as the covariate in a Cox model gave similar results (hazard ratio 0.74; 95% CI 0.47–1.17; P = 0.2). The interaction term between NCCN risk and procedure type was also non-significant.

• Differences in BCR rates between techniques (4.1% vs 3.3% adjusted risk at 2 years) were smaller than those between surgeons (2.5% to 4.8% adjusted risk at 2 years).

CONCLUSIONS

• In this relatively high risk cohort of patients undergoing radical prostatectomy we found no evidence to suggest that ORP resulted in better early oncological outcomes then RALP.

• Oncological outcome after radical prostatectomy may be driven more by surgeon factors than surgical approach.

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