Prostate carcinoma: an autopsy evaluation of the influence of age, tumor grade, and therapy on tumor biology

South Med J. 1990 Jul;83(7):782-4. doi: 10.1097/00007611-199007000-00016.


This report represents a review of 1,641 routine autopsies. Prostate carcinoma was identified in 172 cases (10% of all autopsies) and was the direct or contributing cause of death in 29 (2%). Frequency of prostate carcinoma increased with increasing age, but the mortality rate was inversely related to age as indicated by 30% mortality in those younger than 60 years old, 24% of those between 60 and 70 years old, and 7.5% of those older than 70 years. Of those with carcinoma, 83% died of other, unrelated causes; of those who died, 80% had poorly differentiated (grade 3 or 4) tumors. Given the indolent biologic nature of well differentiated tumors in those older than 70 years, prostate carcinoma should not in most instances be regarded as life-threatening with or without treatment in older individuals. The tumor seems to be biologically more aggressive in younger men, especially those younger than 60 years.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma / mortality
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Carcinoma / therapy
  • Cause of Death
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies