A negative confirmatory biopsy among men on active surveillance for prostate cancer does not protect them from histologic grade progression Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Many men (21-52%) are reported to have no cancer on the second, also known as the confirmatory, biopsy (B2) for prostate cancer active surveillance (AS). If these men had a reduced risk of pathologic progression, particularly grade related, the intensity of their follow-up could be decreased. OBJECTIVE: To investigate if men with no cancer on B2 are less likely to undergo subsequent pathologic progression. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Men were identified from our tertiary care center AS prostate cancer database (1995-2012). Eligibility criteria were prostate-specific antigen (PSA) ≤ 10, cT2 or lower, no Gleason grade 4 or 5, three or fewer positive cores, and no core >50% involved. Only patients with three or more biopsies were selected and then dichotomized on cancer status (yes or no) at B2. INTERVENTION AS OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Pathologic progression was defined as grade (advancement in Gleason score) and/or volume (more than three positive cores, >50% core involved). Progression-free survival was compared. Predictors of progression were investigated using a Cox proportional hazards model. RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS: Of the 286 patients remaining on AS after B2, 149 (52%) had no cancer and 137 (48%) had cancer. The median follow-up after B2 was 41 mo (interquartile range [IQR]: 26.5-61.9). Progression-free survival at 5 yr was 85.2% versus 67.3% for negative B2 versus cancer on B2, respectively (p = 0.002). Men with no cancer at B2 had a 53% reduction in risk of subsequent progression (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.47; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.29-0.77; p = 0.003). Subanalysis showed prognostic indicators of volume-related progression were absence of cancer (HR: 0.36; 95% CI, 0.20-0.62; p = 0.0006) and PSA density (HR: 1.79; 95% CI, 1.12-2.89; p = 0.01). The only predictor of grade-related progression was age (HR: 1.05; 95% CI, 1.00-1.10; p = 0.04). Retrospective analysis was the major limitation of the study. CONCLUSIONS: Absence of cancer on B2 is associated with a significantly decreased risk of volume-related but not grade-related progression. This must be considered when counseling men on AS.


  • Wong, LM
  • Alibhai, SMH
  • Trottier, G
  • Timilshina, N
  • Van Der Kwast, T
  • Zlotta, A
  • Lawrentschuk, N
  • Kulkarni, G
  • Hamilton, R
  • Ferrara, S
  • Margel, D
  • Trachtenberg, J
  • Jewett, MA
  • Toi, A
  • Evans, A
  • Fleshner, NE
  • Finelli, A

publication date

  • 2014