Association of Presalvage Radiotherapy PSA Levels After Prostatectomy With Outcomes of Long-term Antiandrogen Therapy in Men With Prostate Cancer

JAMA Oncol. 2020 May 1;6(5):735-743. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.0109.


Importance: In men with recurrent prostate cancer, addition of long-term antiandrogen therapy to salvage radiotherapy (SRT) was associated with overall survival (OS) in the NRG/RTOG 9601 study. However, hormone therapy has associated morbidity, and there are no validated predictive biomarkers to identify which patients derive most benefit from treatment.

Objective: To examine the role of pre-SRT prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels to personalize hormone therapy use with SRT.

Interventions: Men were randomized to SRT plus high-dose nonsteroidal antiandrogen (bicalutamide, 150 mg/d) or placebo for 2 years.

Design, setting, and participants: In this secondary analysis of the multicenter RTOG 9601 double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial conducted from 1998 to 2003 by a multinational cooperative group, men with a positive surgical margin or pathologic T3 disease after radical prostatectomy with pre-SRT PSA of 0.2 to 4.0 ng/mL were included. Analysis was performed between March 4, 2019, and December 20, 2019.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was overall survival (OS). Secondary end points included distant metastasis (DM), other-cause mortality (OCM), and grades 3 to 5 cardiac and neurologic toxic effects. Subgroup analyses were performed using the protocol-specified PSA stratification variable (1.5 ng/mL) and additional PSA cut points, including test for interaction. Competing risk analyses were performed for DM and other-cause mortality (OCM).

Results: Overall, 760 men with PSA elevation after radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer were included. The median (range) age of particpants was 65 (40-83) years. Antiandrogen assignment was associated with an OS benefit in the PSA stratum greater than 1.5 ng/mL (n = 118) with a 25% 12-year absolute benefit (hazard ratio [HR], 0.45; 95% CI, 0.25-0.81), but not in the PSA of 1.5 ng/mL or less stratum (n = 642) (1% 12-year absolute difference; HR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.66-1.16). In a subanalysis of men with PSA of 0.61 to 1.5 (n = 253), there was an OS benefit associated with antiandrogen assignment (HR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.39-0.94). In those receiving early SRT (PSA ≤0.6 ng/mL, n = 389), there was no improvement in OS (HR, 1.16; 95% CI, 0.79-1.70), an increased OCM hazard (subdistribution HR, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.17-3.20; P = .01), and an increased odds of late grades 3 to 5 cardiac and neurologic toxic effects (odds ratio, 3.57; 95% CI, 1.09-15.97; P = .05).

Conclusions and relevance: These results suggest that pre-SRT PSA level may be a prognostic biomarker for outcomes of antiandrogen treatment with SRT. In patients receiving late SRT (PSA >0.6 ng/mL, hormone therapy was associated with improved outcomes. In men receiving early SRT (PSA ≤0.6 ng/mL), long-term antiandrogen treatment was not associated with improved OS. Future randomized clinical trials are needed to determine hormonal therapy benefit in this population.

Trial registration: Identifier: NCT00002874.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Androgen Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / metabolism*
  • Prostatectomy / methods*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Salvage Therapy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen

Associated data