Risk of prostate carcinoma death in patients with lymph node metastasis

Cancer. 2001 Jan 1;91(1):66-73. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(20010101)91:1<66::aid-cncr9>3.0.co;2-p.


Background: The presence of lymph node metastasis is a poor prognostic sign for patients with prostate carcinoma. Results of published reports on survival among patients with lymph node metastasis are difficult to assess because of treatment selections. The extent to which lymph node status will have an impact on a patient's survival is uncertain.

Methods: The authors analyzed 3463 consecutive Mayo Clinic patients who underwent radical prostatectomy and bilateral pelvic lymphadenectomy for prostate carcinoma between 1987 and 1993. Of these patients, 322 had lymph node metastasis at the time of surgery, and 297 lymph node positive patients also received adjuvant hormonal therapy within 90 days of surgery. The progression free rate and the cancer specific survival rate were used as outcome endpoints in univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazards models. The median follow-up was 6.3 years. Progression was defined by elevation of serum prostate specific antigen (PSA) > or = 0.4 ng/mL after surgery, development of local recurrence, or distant metastasis documented by biopsy or radiographic examination.

Results: The 5-year and 10-year progression free survival rates (+/- standard error [SE]) for patients with lymph node metastasis were 74% +/- 2% and 64% +/- 3%, respectively, compared with 77% +/- 1% and 59% +/- 2%, respectively, for patients without lymph node metastasis. The 5-year and 10-year cancer specific survival rates were 94% +/- 1% and 83% +/- 4%, respectively, compared with 99% +/- 0.1% and 97% +/- 0.5%, respectively, for patients without lymph node metastasis. Among patients with a single lymph node metastasis, the 5-year and 10-year cancer specific survival rates were 99% +/- 1% and 94% +/- 3%, respectively. After adjustment for extraprostatic extension, seminal vesicle invasion, Gleason grade, surgical margins, DNA ploidy, preoperative serum PSA concentration, and adjuvant therapy, the hazard ratio for death from prostate carcinoma among patients with a single lymph node metastasis compared with patients who were without lymph node metastasis was 1.5 (95% confidence interval, 0.5-5.0; P = 0.478), whereas the hazard ratio for death from prostate carcinoma was 6.1 (95% confidence interval, 1.9-19.6; P = 0.002) for those with two positive lymph nodes and 4.3 (95% confidence interval, 1.4-13.0; P = 0.009) for those with three or more positive lymph nodes. There was no significant difference in the progression free survival rate among patients with or without lymph node metastasis in multivariate analysis after controlling for all relevant variables, including treatments (hazard ratio,1.0; 95% CI, 0.7-1.3; P = 0.90).

Conclusions: Patients with prostate carcinoma who have multiple regional lymph node metastases had increased risk of death from disease, whereas patients with single lymph node involvement appeared to have a more favorable prognosis after radical prostatectomy and immediate adjuvant hormonal therapy. Excellent local disease control was achieved by using combined surgery and adjuvant hormonal therapy in patients with positive lymph nodes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma / mortality*
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Carcinoma / therapy
  • Cause of Death
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal