Objectives. There is no consensus on the management of Stage D1 prostate cancer. The literature suggests that radical prostatectomy, as compared with pelvic lymphadenectomy (PLND) alone, may extend survival. Despite evidence that lymph node tumor burden influences cancer survival, few groups of researchers have controlled for this variable when comparing management strategies. We performed a study that was case-controlled for nodal tumor burden to determine if a survival advantage exists for radical prostatectomy. Methods. Of 168 men with Stage D1 disease diagnosed between 1983 and 1995, 127 underwent pelvic lymphadenectomy and radical retropubic prostatectomy (PLND/RRP) and 41 underwent PLND alone. Clinical charts were reviewed for follow-up, and lymph node tumor burden was assessed by volume of nodal metastases and the percentage of positive nodes sampled. Adjuvant treatment was based on the surgeon's preference and clinical situation. Nineteen patients from each group were matched for age, PSA, Gleason score, clinical stage, follow-up, and nodal tumor burden. Results. Comparison of the non- case-controlled PLND/RRP and PLND groups showed no differences in age, prostate-specific antigen level, Gleason score, clinical stage, or follow- up. The nodal tumor burden was greater for the PLND group (P = 0.001). The 10-year cancer-specific survival rates for the PLND/RRP and PLND groups were statistically different (P = 0.006). In the case-controlled group, the results were similar for cancer-specific survival at 10 years (56% and 34%, respectively; P = 0.09). Conclusions. These data suggest that in Stage D1 prostate cancer, a trend toward a statistical difference in survival may exist for radical prostatectomy as compared with conservative treatment. Further case-controlled and prospective randomized studies are needed to verify these results.
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