Purpose: The outcome of patients with advanced prostate cancer undergoing palliative transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is not well defined in the literature. We determined the preoperative characteristics, operative morbidity and postoperative outcomes of patients with advanced prostate cancer undergoing palliative TURP and compared these outcomes to those of patients undergoing TURP for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Materials and methods: A retrospective review of all patients with prostate cancer undergoing palliative TURP at a single institution between 1994 and 2001 was performed. Operative reports, and outpatient and inpatient records were reviewed. Serum prostate specific antigen, and cancer grade and stage at cancer diagnosis were compared with findings at TURP. Operative statistics, postoperative outcomes and complication rates were compared between the palliative prostate cancer TURP group and a large cohort of 520 patients undergoing TURP at our institution for BPH during the same period. The Fisher exact and 1-sample t test were used to determine statistical differences in outcomes between these 2 groups.
Results: A total of 24 palliative TURPs were performed in 19 patients. At prostate cancer diagnosis mean patient age was 68.7 years (range 49 to 87) and median prostate specific antigen +/- SD was 39.7 +/- 78.3 ng/ml (range 1.5 to 334). Radiation therapy was the initial treatment in 11 patients (58%) and the remainder received initial hormonal therapy. Mean age at TURP was 74.2 years (range 50 to 91) with an average time from prostate cancer diagnosis to TURP of 49.7 months (range 1 to 196). While only 22.7% of the patients had high grade cancer (Gleason score 8 to 10) at cancer diagnosis 67% were determined to be high grade at palliative TURP (p = 0.001). After TURP the mean urinary flow rate decreased from 9.6 to 7.3 cc per second (p = 0.453) and the International Prostate Symptom Score improved from 21.1 to 11 (p = 0.002). Compared with patients undergoing TURP for BPH those treated with palliative TURP were more likely to have failure of the initial voiding trial (p <0.001), and require reoperation (p <0.001), chronic drainage (p = 0.001) and re-catheterization for bleeding or obstruction (p = 0.056).
Conclusions: Palliative TURP can be performed safely in patients with advanced prostate cancer with significant improvement in urinary symptoms. However, the rates of postoperative urinary retention and reoperation are higher than in patients undergoing TURP for BPH.