What is the optimal management of high risk, clinically localized prostate cancer?

James A. Eastham, Christopher P Evans, Anthony Zietman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objectives: To summarize the presentations and debate regarding the optimal treatment of localized high-risk prostate cancer as presented at the 2009 Spring Meeting of the Society of Urologic Oncology. Materials and methods: The debate was centered on presentations arguing for radical prostatectomy (RP) or radiotherapy as the optimal treatment for this condition. The meeting presentations are summarized by their respective presenters herein. Results: Dr. James Eastham presents the varied definitions for "high-risk" prostate cancer as strongly influencing which patients end up in this cohort. Based upon this, between 3% and 38% of patients with high-risk features could be defined as "high-risk". Despite that, these men do not have a uniformly poor prognosis after RP, and attention to surgical principles as outlined improve outcomes. Disease-specific survival at 12 years is excellent and up to one-half of these men may not need adjuvant or salvage therapies, depending on their specific disease characteristics. Adjuvant or salvage radiotherapies improve outcomes and are part of a sequential approach to treating these patients. Dr. Anthony Zietman presented radiotherapy as the gold-standard based upon large, randomized clinical trials of intermediate- and high-risk prostate cancer patients. Compared with androgen deprivation alone, the addition of radiotherapy provided a 12% cancer-specific survival advantage and 10% overall survival advantage. Dose escalation seems to confer further improvements in cancer control without significant escalation of toxicities, with more data forthcoming. Conclusions: There are no randomized trials comparing RP to radiotherapy for any risk category. In high-risk prostate cancer patients, both approaches have potential benefits and cumulative toxicities that must be matched to disease characteristics and patient expectations in selecting a treatment course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-567
Number of pages11
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • High-risk
  • Prostate cancer
  • Radical prostatectomy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Risk stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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