Changes in Characteristics of Men with Lethal Prostate Cancer During the Past 25 Years: Description of Population-based Deaths

Eur Urol Open Sci. 2022 May 28:41:81-87. doi: 10.1016/j.euros.2022.05.003. eCollection 2022 Jul.


Background: Attempts to reduce prostate cancer (PC) mortality require an understanding of temporal changes in the characteristics of men with lethal PC.

Objective: To describe the diagnostic characteristics of and time trends for a nationwide population-based cohort of Swedish men who died from PC between 1992 and 2016.

Design setting and participants: Men with PC as the underlying cause of death from 1992 to 2016 according to the Swedish Cause of Death Register were included in the study. Characteristics at diagnosis were collected via links to other nationwide registries using personal identity numbers.

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Data on disease duration, age at death, and risk category were analyzed. Missing data for risk categories for men with an early date of PC diagnosis were imputed according to the method of chained equations.

Results and limitations: Between 1992 and 2016, age-standardized PC mortality decreased by 25%. Median PC disease duration increased from 3.3 yr (interquartile range [IQR] 1.6-6.3) to 5.9 yr (IQR 2.5-10.3) and the median age at death from PC increased from 78.9 yr (IQR 73.3-84.2) to 82.2 yr (IQR 75.2-87.5). The proportion of men with localized disease at diagnosis who died from PC increased from 34% to 48%, while the rate of distant metastases at diagnosis decreased from 56% to 42%. The rate of distant metastases at diagnosis was highest among the youngest men. Treatment trajectories could not be described owing to the large proportion of missing data before the start of registration in the National Prostate Cancer Registry.

Conclusion: Age-standardized PC mortality has decreased substantially since 1992. However, there is still a high proportion of men who die from PC who had localized disease at diagnosis, which indicates that more attention is needed to identify the underlying causes to prevent disease progression. Since the proportion of men with distant metastases at diagnosis remains high, early detection of lethal tumors is essential to further reduce PC mortality.

Patient summary: We investigated the characteristics of men who died from prostate cancer in Sweden between 1992 and 2016. We found that men with lethal prostate cancer live longer and are older when they die today in comparison to men who died at the beginning of the study period. However, the proportion of men with distant metastases at diagnosis remains high, which is why early detection of lethal tumors is essential to reduce mortality.

Keywords: Diagnostic characteristics; Mortality; Prevalence; Prostate cancer.