Role of surgery in high-risk localized prostate cancer Academic Article uri icon


  • Men with high-risk localized prostate cancer (PCa) remain a challenge for clinicians. Until recently, surgery was not the preferred approach, in part because risk of subclinical metastatic disease, elevated rates of positive surgical margins, absence of randomized studies, and suboptimal cancer control did not justify the morbidity of surgery. No randomized data comparing surgery with radiation therapy are yet available. Data for and comparisons between treatment options should therefore be analyzed with extreme caution.When selecting the best treatment for patients with clinically localized high-risk PCa, considerations should include the life expectancy of the patient, the natural history of PCa, the curability of the disease, and the morbidity of treatment. High-grade PCa managed with noncurative intent greatly reduces life expectancy, but overall, it must also be remembered that radical prostatectomy (RP) and radiotherapy (RT) appear to have similar effects on quality of life. In this population, RP necessitates an extended pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND), but in selected cases, nerve-sparing is a therapeutic possibility and may offer a significant advantage over rt in terms of local control and-although absolutely not yet proved-maybe even in survival. One clear advantage is the ease of administering adjuvant or salvage external-beam rt (EBRT) after rp; conversely, salvage rp after failed EBRT is an exceedingly difficult surgery, with major complications. Surgery therefore has its place, but must be considered in the context of multimodality treatment and the risk of micrometastatic disease. Awaited trial results will help to further refine management in this group of patients.

publication date

  • November 17, 2010