Prostate cancer in elderly men

Rev Urol. Spring 2008;10(2):111-9.


Due to increasing life expectancy and the introduction of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening, a rising number of elderly men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Besides PSA serum levels and Gleason score, age is considered to be a key prognostic factor in terms of treatment decisions. In men older than 70 years, treatment without curative intent may deprive the frail patient of years of life. Modern radical prostatectomy techniques are associated with low perioperative morbidity, excellent clinical outcome, and documented long-term disease control. Thus, radical prostatectomy should be considered because local treatment of organ-confined prostate cancer potentially cures disease. The huge extent of PSA screening programs may lead to overdiagnosis of prostate cancer. Not every man who is diagnosed with prostate cancer will develop clinically significant disease. This has led to the concept of expectant management for screen-detected, small-volume, low-grade disease, with the intention of providing therapy for those men with disease progression.

Keywords: Elderly men; Overtreatment; Prostate cancer; Prostate-specific antigen; Quality of life; Screening.