Does the completeness of prostate sampling predict outcome for patients undergoing radical prostatectomy?: data from the CAPSURE database

Urology. 2000 Sep 1;56(3):430-5. doi: 10.1016/s0090-4295(00)00705-6.


Objectives: To determine whether more complete sampling of the radical prostatectomy (RP) specimen better predicts outcome after surgery.

Methods: We reviewed pathology reports from 1383 patients enrolled in CaPSURE (a longitudinal registry of patients with prostate cancer) who underwent RP. Specimens were considered step-sectioned only if the entire specimen was submitted for analysis and if sections were taken at 0.5-cm intervals or less. Otherwise, specimens were considered non-step-sectioned. Pathologic stage, Gleason score, surgical margin status, and outcome were compared between groups. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) recurrence was defined as a PSA level of 0.2 ng/mL or greater on two consecutive occasions after RP. Secondary cancer treatment consisted of radiation or androgen deprivation after RP. Adjuvant treatments occurred within 6 months of RP, and nonadjuvant treatments occurred more than 6 months after RP. Kaplan-Meier event rates of PSA recurrence and secondary treatment were calculated for patients in the step-sectioned and non-step-sectioned groups.

Results: No significant differences were found between patients in the step-sectioned and non-step-sectioned groups with respect to pathologic tumor stage, prostatectomy Gleason score, or margin status. Patients in whom step-sectioning was performed had a lower serum PSA at diagnosis than patients in the non-step-sectioned group. When examining all patients, no differences were observed in the use of secondary treatments or PSA recurrence based on the method of pathologic analysis. However, patients with negative margins in whom step-sectioning was performed exhibited significantly lower secondary nonadjuvant treatment use and appeared to have a lower risk of PSA recurrence than similar patients in the non-step-sectioned group.

Conclusions: These data suggest that more complete pathologic analysis of the surgical specimen may better predict outcome for some patients undergoing RP. Additional research is warranted to determine whether such differences justify the additional resources necessary to recommend routine step-sectioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Databases as Topic
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prostate / pathology*
  • Prostate / surgery
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen