Purpose: There are numerous reports on the results of watchful waiting or active monitoring protocols for men with low volume, biopsy Gleason grade 6 or less prostate cancer. When counseling patients with low grade prostate cancer about treatment options, it is useful to know the results of surgical treatment in this population.
Materials and methods: In a contemporary radical prostatectomy series there were 455 patients with biopsy Gleason grade 3 + 3 prostate cancer and information on the number of positive biopsy cores. Of these men 292 had low volume disease on the basis of 2 or fewer positive cores.
Results: Overall 245 of 292 men (84%) with low volume Gleason 3 + 3 prostate cancer on biopsy had organ confined disease. The Gleason score in the prostatectomy specimen was 7 or greater in 78 men (27%), 25 (8%) had extracapsular tumor extension and 29 (10%) had positive surgical margins. In these patients preoperative variables were not reliable predictors of adverse pathological features.
Conclusions: More than a third of Gleason 3 + 3 tumors on biopsy were upgraded in the radical prostatectomy specimen or had other adverse pathological features. Our results suggest that low volume Gleason 3 + 3 prostate cancer is frequently under staged, and that immediate therapy with radical prostatectomy is associated with favorable outcomes.