Incidence and Predictors of Upgrading and Up Staging among 10,000 Contemporary Patients with Low Risk Prostate Cancer

J Urol. 2015 Aug;194(2):343-9. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2015.02.015. Epub 2015 Feb 11.


Purpose: We determined the incidence of pathological upgrading and up staging for contemporary, clinically low risk patients, and identified predictors of having occult, advanced disease to inform the selection of patients for active surveillance.

Materials and methods: We studied 10,273 patients in the SEER database diagnosed with clinically low risk disease (cT1c/T2a, prostate specific antigen less than 10 ng/ml, Gleason 3 + 3 = 6) in 2010 to 2011 and treated with prostatectomy. The primary outcome was the incidence of upgrading to pathological Gleason score 7-10 or up staging to pathological T3-T4/N1 disease. Multivariable logistic regression of cases with complete biopsy data (5,581) identified significant predictors of upgrading or up staging, which were then used to create a risk stratification table.

Results: At prostatectomy 44% of cases were upgraded and 9.7% were up staged. Multivariable analysis of 5,581 patients showed age, prostate specific antigen and percent positive cores (all p < 0.001) but not race were associated with occult, advanced disease. With these variables dichotomized at the median, age older than 60 years (AOR 1.39), prostate specific antigen greater than 5.0 ng/ml (AOR 1.28) and more than 25% positive cores (AOR 1.76) were significantly associated with upgrading (all p < 0.001). Similarly, age older than 60 years (AOR 1.42), prostate specific antigen greater than 5.0 ng/ml (AOR 1.44) and more than 25% positive cores (AOR 2.26) were associated with up staging (all p < 0.001). Overall 60% of 5,581 low risk cases with prostate specific antigen 7.5 to 9.9 ng/ml and more than 25% positive cores were upgraded. This study is limited by possible bias introduced by only using patients selected for prostatectomy.

Conclusions: Nearly half of clinically low risk patients harbor Gleason 7 or greater, or pT3 or greater disease, and should be risk stratified by prostate specific antigen and percent positive cores for consideration of further testing before deciding on active surveillance.

Keywords: SEER program; neoplasm grading; neoplasm staging; prostatic neoplasms; watchful waiting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prostate / pathology*
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Survival Rate


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen