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Increasing rate of pathologic upgrading in low risk prostate cancer patients in the active surveillance era
Division of Urology, Department of Surgery Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri, USA
Apr  2022 (Vol.  29, Issue  2, Pages( 11059 - 11066)
PMID: 35429423


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  • Introduction:

    Management of prostate cancer has seen an increasing predilection for active surveillance in low risk (LR) patients. We aimed to evaluate the rate of pathologic upgrading in patients with very low (VLR) or LR prostate cancer after prostatectomy.

    Materials and methods:

    The National Cancer Database (NCDB) and the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Database were queried for patients diagnosed with Gleason 6 prostate cancer and prostate specific antigen (PSA) < 10 ng/mL from 2010 to 2016. All patients underwent 12-core biopsy and a subsequent prostatectomy for final pathologic staging. Our primary outcome was rate of pathologic upgrading over the study period.


    A total of 35,332 patients from the NCDB and 7,186 patients from the SEER database were collected. Patient population had an average age of about 59 years old and was over 80% white. Mean pre-biopsy PSA was higher for the upgraded cohorts in the NCDB and SEER populations (5.3 versus 4.9 and 5.5 versus 5.1 respectively, p < 0.001). Upgraded cohorts were more likely to have a higher percentage of positive cores at biopsy (p < 0.001). Multivariable analysis demonstrated that increasing age, increasing PSA and year of diagnosis were all predictors of upgrading (p < 0.05) in both databases. African American race was significantly associated with upgrading in the NCDB database only (p = 0.001). Over the studied time period, the rate of upgrading at prostatectomy increased from 41.2% to 56.7% in the NCDB population and from 41.9% to 45.4% in the SEER population.


    The rate of pathologic upgrading of VLR and LR prostate cancer at prostatectomy has been increasing in recent years. Increasing age, pre-biopsy PSA and an increasing percentage of positive cores at biopsy are predictors of this outcome. This may relate to improved patient selection for active surveillance and definitive treatment.