Measurements of cancer extent in a conservatively treated prostate cancer biopsy cohort
The optimal method for measuring cancer extent in prostate biopsy specimens is unknown. Seven hundred forty-four patients diagnosed between 1990 and 1996 with prostate cancer and managed conservatively were identified. The clinical end point was death from prostate cancer. The extent of cancer was measured in terms of number of cancer cores (NCC), percentage of cores with cancer (PCC), total length of cancer (LCC) and percentage length of cancer in the cores (PLC). These were correlated with prostate cancer mortality, in univariate and multivariate analysis including Gleason score and prostate-specific antigen (PSA). All extent of cancer variables were significant predictors of prostate cancer death on univariate analysis: NCC, hazard ration (HR) = 1.15, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.04-1.28, P = 0.011; PPC, HR = 1.01, 95% CI = 1.01-1.02, P < 0.0001; LCC, HR = 1.02, 95% CI = 1.01-1.03, P = 0.002; PLC, HR = 1.01, 95% CI = 1.01-1.02, P = 0.0001. In multivariate analysis including Gleason score and baseline PSA, PCC and PLC were both independently significant P = 0.004 and P = 0.012, respectively, and added further information to that provided by PSA and Gleason score, whereas NNC and LCC were no longer significant (P = 0.5 and P = 0.3 respectively). In a final model, including both extent of cancer variables, PCC was the stronger, adding more value than PLC (χ² (1df) = 7.8, P = 0.005, χ² (1df) = 0.5, P = 0.48 respectively). Measurements of disease burden in needle biopsy specimens are significant predictors of prostate-cancer-related death. The percentage of positive cores appeared the strongest predictor and was stronger than percentage length of cancer in the cores.