The incidence of lymphatic metastases in 229 consecutive patients with clinically localized prostatic cancer was assessed. Only 13 patients had nodal metastases, for an incidence of 5.7%. A monoclonal prostatic specific antigen value of more than 40 ng./ml. correlated with a positive predictive value of 53% for nodal metastases. Routine laparoscopic node dissection is unnecessary considering the low incidence of nodal metastases.