Purpose: We evaluated the role of perineural invasion identified on prostate needle biopsy as a predictor of prostate specific antigen (PSA) recurrence after radical prostatectomy.
Materials and methods: Between 1993 and 1998 radical prostatectomy was performed in 319 consecutive patients. Prostate needle biopsies were reviewed in all cases. We compared perineural invasion with other preoperative parameters, including digital rectal examination, PSA and biopsy Gleason score, for the ability to predict PSA recurrence with recurrence defined as any serum PSA level greater than 0.2 ng./ml.
Results: Perineural invasion was identified on 77 of 319 preoperative prostate biopsies (24%). There was PSA recurrence in 46 patients (14.4%) at a mean followup of 25.4 months (range 0.2 to 62.1). Perineural invasion statistically correlated with PSA recurrence. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed disease-free survival rates of 24 versus 64% when perineural invasion was and was not present in the prostate biopsy (p = 0.0003, log rank 12.92). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that perineural invasion (p = 0.012) and PSA (p = 0.005) were independent preoperative predictive factors of PSA recurrence. When perineural invasion was compared with postoperative parameters, including disease stage, surgical margins and seminal vesicle invasion, it was not an independent predictor because it closely correlated with tumor stage.
Conclusions: Perineural invasion on preoperative prostate needle biopsy is a strong independent predictor of PSA recurrence in patients in whom prostate cancer was treated with radical prostatectomy.