Purpose: The risk of biochemical recurrence is inversely related to the relapse-free interval after radical prostatectomy. We examined predictors of late biochemical recurrence, and the relationship between timing of biochemical recurrence and long-term survival outcomes.
Materials and methods: Of 10,609 men treated with radical prostatectomy 1,684 had biochemical recurrence. We examined predictors of late biochemical recurrence (more than 10 years after radical prostatectomy), and calculated metastasis-free and cancer specific survival rates from the time of biochemical recurrence. In the subset of 1,583 men with an undetectable prostate specific antigen at 10 years we calculated actuarial metastasis-free and cancer specific survival estimates at 20 years after radical prostatectomy.
Results: Of the biochemical recurrence studied 77.0%, 16.6%, 4.9% and 1.5% occurred at 5 or less, greater than 5 to 10, greater than 10 to 15 and more than 15 years postoperatively. Late recurrence was associated with more favorable pathological features, as well as higher metastasis-free and cancer specific survival rates. For men with an undetectable prostate specific antigen at 10 years the actuarial probability of biochemical recurrence and metastasis at 20 years varied by stage and grade, with no metastases in patients with a prostatectomy Gleason score 6 or less. A single patient with an undetectable prostate specific antigen at 10 years died of prostate cancer within 20 years after radical prostatectomy.
Conclusions: Men with an undetectable prostate specific antigen for more than 10 years have a low risk of subsequent biochemical recurrence, with correspondingly lower rates of metastasis and death. These patients should be counseled that their risk of subsequent cancer related morbidity and mortality is low. Furthermore, these results suggest that annual prostate specific antigen testing may be safely discontinued after 10 years for men with a prostatectomy Gleason score 6 or less and/or limited life expectancy.
Copyright © 2011 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.