The patient, disease status, and treatment options for prostate cancer: Stages B1 and B2Academic ArticleArticle
Prostatic adenocarcinoma palpably confined to the prostate is clinically defined as stage B. Although potentially curable in many, if not most, instances, there is no disputing that the optimal management of patients with stage B neoplasms is one of the most uncertain and controversial issues in modern urologic oncology. The present uncertainty can be related to three major factors: 1) competing causes of death in patients commonly older than 50 years of age; 2) the variable and unpredictable natural course of localized prostatic cancer as reflected by the three, at least in part, independent variables of growth rate, metastatic potential, and therapeutic responsiveness; and 3) the multiplicity and effectiveness of a variety of treatments in producing effects on the tumor favorable to the patient. The relative effectiveness of different treatments has been and remains clouded by a constantly changing array of clinical staging techniques, selection criteria for treatment, and definitions of response, and by the general absence of satisfactory control data. Experiences with patients receiving no treatment, various forms of irradiation, and radical excision have indicated a general similarity in at least 10-year survival rates and clinically manifest local failure rates among comparable substages of stage B prostatic cancer. Since suitable control data are lacking, one may conclude that a variety of treatments offer similar prospects of benefit or that none of the treatments is producing significant beneficial effect and that survivals are a consequence of the natural history of stage B disease. A Possibility that has yet to be evaluated is that different treatments produce benefit in different segments of the stage B prostatic cancer population, and the challenge today is to recognize and define such neoplasms that may respond most appropriately to one form of therapy or another.