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A Journal on Nephrology and Urology

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Minerva Urologica e Nefrologica 2015 March;67(1):33-46

language: English

Surgical treatment of high-risk prostate cancer

Soares R., Eden C. G.

Department of Urology, Royal Surrey County Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust, Guildford, UK


High-risk prostate cancer (HRPC) currently comprises 17-35% of newly diagnosed cases and has the highest rate of metastasis and cancer-related death, making its management a top priority for improving prostate cancer outcomes. The definition of HRPC is not consensual and several risk stratification criteria have been used, which hinders the interpretation of data and the comparison of different studies. All classifications include prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, biopsy Gleason score and clinical stage as criteria, but others have been added in an attempt to make stratification more accurate and clinically useful, to enable identification of the patients that can be cured by local treatment of the disease. HRPC was traditionally treated with radiotherapy (RT) and/or androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), but radical prostatectomy (RP) has slowly gained more importance in this context. This article aims to discuss the role of surgery in HRPC, highlighting the advantages of RP as primary treatment option: the ability to provide a definitive stage and grade of the cancer; allowing an early detection of treatment failure by having an undetectable PSA as treatment target; providing excellent local control of the disease; reducing the risk of metastatic progression to a greater extent than does RT. We will try to show the benefits and risks of a “surgery first” approach, keeping in mind that, despite the curative intent, a significant number of patients will still need adjuvant or salvage RT and/or ADT.

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