Purpose: We investigated whether repeat prostate biopsies are associated with more favorable prognoses, less extensive disease or higher rates of IC in patients who are ultimately diagnosed with prostate cancer and treated with RRP.
Materials and methods: We examined standard clinical and pathological data on 1,357 patients treated with RRP from 1983 to 2001. In addition, we noted the rate of IC in a subgroup of 847 patients in whom tumor volume was measured.
Results: Cancer was found in 1,042 patients (77%) at the first biopsy, in 227 (17%) at the second biopsy, in 59 (4%) at the third biopsy and in 29 (2%) at the fourth or later biopsy. Patients with 2 or greater biopsies had a higher rate of clinical T1c stage cancer and larger prostates than patients with only 1 biopsy (each p < 0.0001). After RRP patients with 1 biopsy had a lower rate of organ confined tumors (61% vs 75%, p < 0.0001), and a higher rate of extracapsular extension, seminal vesicle invasion, lymph node metastases and Gleason sum 7 or greater than other patients. IC was found in 10% of patients with 1 biopsy and 18% of those with 2 or greater biopsies (p = 0.018). Despite these more favorable pathological outcomes there was no difference in biochemical recurrence rate.
Conclusions: Although we found that a greater number of biopsies was related to a better pathological outcome after RRP, the number of biopsies did not predict disease recurrence. The increasing number of biopsies currently being performed, especially in patients with larger prostates, likely results in higher rates of IC.