Objectives. The prognostic significance of clinical stage in patients with prostate cancer who are treated with external beam radiotherapy is unclear. This study evaluates multiple pretreatment factors, including clinical stage, to determine which are the best prognostic factors, and develops a classification system based on these factors. Methods. All 249 evaluable patients with clinically localized adenocarcinoma of the prostate treated with definitive conformal external beam radiotherapy without androgen deprivation at our institution between 1989 and 1993 were analyzed. Clinical stage, serum PSA level, Gleason score, race, and history of transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) were evaluated for their ability to predict biochemical disease-free survival (BDFS). Factors predictive of BDFS were then used to construct a classification system. The classification system was then analyzed for its ability to predict BDFS, distant metastases, local recurrence, and clinical disease free survival in univariate and multivariate analyses. Median follow-up was 27 months. Results. Gleason score and PSA predicted BDFS in multivariate analysis (both P <0.0001), whereas clinical stage, race, and history of a TURP did not. These two biologic factors were combined into a four-level classification system. This classification system was analyzed together with Gleason score and PSA and was found to be the only predictor of BDFS on multivariate analysis (P <0.0001). In addition, this classification system was the only predictor of distant metastases in multivariate analysis (P <0.0001). Conclusions. The classification system derived herein based on the biologic factors of Gleason score and serum PSA levels is the sole predictor of distant metastases and biochemical recurrence for patients treated with definitive conformal external beam radiotherapy for clinically localized prostate cancer. This classification system may be useful when comparing competing therapies and stratifying patients in clinical trials, but requires validation from other institutions and other therapies prior to its widespread use.
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