Patterns of failure after primary local therapy for prostate cancer and rationale for secondary therapy

Urology. 2002 Sep;60(3 Suppl 1):57-62; discussion 62-3. doi: 10.1016/s0090-4295(02)01574-1.


The timing and type of treatment for patients with biochemical disease recurrence after local therapy for prostate cancer remains controversial. This is because of many unresolved issues surrounding the natural history of disease progression in such patients, including the limited ability of clinical measures to accurately define local versus distant disease recurrence. Clinicians generally rely on clinical tumor characteristics, such as tumor stage, grade, and prostate specific antigen (PSA) kinetics after local therapy, to distinguish local from distant recurrence. This determination is important, because patients with local recurrence may be candidates for a second, potentially curative treatment, whereas those with distant recurrence are generally treated with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Data from a national disease registry of patients with prostate cancer, the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE), suggest that the use of secondary cancer treatment after local therapy for prostate cancer is common. For patients initially treated with radical prostatectomy, secondary treatment appears to be nearly equally divided between postoperative radiation and ADT, whereas >90% of patients receiving a secondary treatment after radiation are treated with ADT. Serum PSA at diagnosis, Gleason score, and type of initial treatment appear to be predictors of secondary treatment use in this setting. Patient age, lymph node status, and margin status appear to be predictors of secondary treatment with ADT or radiation for patients initially treated with radical prostatectomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Cryosurgery
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / diagnosis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / classification
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Treatment Failure


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen