Effect of neoadjuvant endocrine therapy (combined androgen blockade) on normal prostate and prostatic carcinoma. A randomized study

Am J Surg Pathol. 1996 Jan;20(1):86-93. doi: 10.1097/00000478-199601000-00010.


The morphologic changes induced by neoadjuvant combination endocrine therapy were evaluated in prostatectomy specimens from patients diagnosed with localized prostate cancer. These patients participated in a prospective, randomized clinical trial investigating the effect of 3 months of combination therapy with flutamide and an LHRH agonist prior to radical prostatectomy versus radical prostatectomy alone. Ninety-six radical prostatectomy specimens processed according to the same protocol were evaluated without knowledge of prior treatment. Forty-seven patients were randomly assigned to the neoadjuvant combination therapy group and 49 to the control arm. Compared with the control group, several changes were strongly and significantly associated with exposure to neoadjuvant combination therapy. The nonmalignant prostatic tissue showed strong prominence and hyperplasia of the basal cell layer, accompanied by epithelial cell vacuolization and markedly reduced occurrence of prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (p < 0.001) after combination therapy. Prostate cancer tissue, on the other hand, showed smaller nucleoli (p < 0.001), cell vacuolization (p < 0.001), rare intraluminal crystalloids (p < 0.001), higher Gleason grade (p < 0.001), lower prevalence of capsular penetration (p < 0.001), and less frequent invasion of the perineural spaces (p < 0.001) and surgical margins (p = 0.002). Tumor volume, was also reduced by more than 40% in the treated group (p = 0.007). The present findings show that preoperative endocrine combination therapy induces highly characteristic changes in both nonmalignant and cancerous prostatic tissue. Furthermore, following endocrine treatment, the surgical margins are less likely to be involved by cancer and capsular penetration is reduced.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Carcinoma / surgery
  • Flutamide / therapeutic use
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / agonists
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostate / drug effects*
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostate / surgery
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Reference Values


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Flutamide