Aims: To analyse tumour characteristics and the prognostic significance of prostatic cancers with extranodal extension of lymph node metastases (ENE) in 102 node-positive, hormone treatment-naive patients undergoing radical prostatectomy and extended lymphadenectomy.
Methods and results: The median number of nodes examined per patient was 21 (range 9-68), and the median follow-up time was 92 months (range 12-191). ENE was observed in 71 patients (70%). They had significantly more, larger and less differentiated nodal metastases, paralleled by significantly larger primary tumours at more advanced stages and with higher Gleason scores than patients without ENE. ENE defined a subgroup with significantly decreased biochemical recurrence-free (P = 0.038) and overall survival (P = 0.037). In multivariate analyses the diameter of the largest metastasis and Gleason score of the primary tumour were independent predictors of survival.
Conclusions: ENE in prostatic cancer is an indicator lesion for advanced/aggressive tumours with poor outcome. However, the strong correlation with larger metastases suggests that ENE may result from their size, which was the only independent risk factor in the metastasizing component. Consequently, histopathological reports should specify the true indicator of poor survival in the lymphadenectomy specimens, which is the size of the largest metastasis in each patient.