Prostate needle biopsy reporting: how are the surgical members of the Society of Urologic Oncology using pathology reports to guide treatment of prostate cancer patients?

Am J Surg Pathol. 2004 Jul;28(7):946-52. doi: 10.1097/00000478-200407000-00016.


Recent trends in prostate needle biopsy reporting have resulted in the inclusion of more information and new diagnostic categories. The goal of the current study was to survey surgical Members of the Society of Urologic Oncology to determine what information academic urologists consider important in the management of their prostate cancer (PCa) patients. A questionnaire was developed to investigate several areas of PCa biopsy reporting, which vary from institution to institution. Urologists were sent questionnaires and asked to return anonymous responses; 42 questionnaires were completely evaluated with a response rate of 76% (42 of 55). The urologists targeted for this survey were highly experienced with an average of 22 years in clinical practice (range, 6-35 years). On average, they performed 92 radical prostatectomies per year and 449 over the past 5 years (range, 60-1500) for a group total of 18,840 radical prostatectomies; 94% have their patient's biopsy reviewed prior to surgery. The primary and secondary Gleason pattern was required by 60% (25 of 42) of the respondents. In prostate needle biopsies containing only a single minute focus of PCa, only 41% (17 of 42) of respondents would request a Gleason score if not provided in the initial report. Interestingly, in biopsies with multiple positive cores from separate locations, 81% (34 of 42) use the highest Gleason score, regardless of the overall percentage involvement, to determine their treatment plan. Other pathology parameters requested by the respondents in descending order included: % involvement of the core by PCa (67%), the presence or absence of perineural invasion (38%), the number of cores with PCa (33%), and the length of core involvement (29%). Only 24% (10 of 42) of respondents use perineural invasion status to guide nerve-sparing surgery. The more radical prostatectomies performed by a surgeon, the greater the likelihood that they considered perineural invasion clinically important (Mann-Whitney, two-tailed, P = 0.015). The term atypical small acinar proliferation was uniformly considered sufficient to re-biopsy by 98% (41 of 42) of the urologists. This is the first study to survey urologists as to what information they require from prostate needle biopsy reports in their treatment planning of men with clinically localized PCa. With the exception of Gleason score, the use of detailed pathology information was variably used to guide treatment. PNI was not considered important by the majority of respondents. In contrast, atypical small acinar proliferation, a more recent diagnostic category, was recognized as important by nearly all respondents. Knowledge of how pathology biopsy reports are being used should help evaluate what data should be uniformly part of standard biopsy pathology report and help improve communication between pathologists and urologists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Biopsy, Needle*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Oncology*
  • Prostate / pathology*
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Societies, Medical
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urology*