Neuroendocrine differentiation in prostate cancer: Enhanced prediction of progression after radical prostatectomy

Michael H. Weinstein, Alan W. Partin, Robert W. Veltri, Jonathan I. Epstein

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162 Scopus citations


It is controversial whether neuroendocrine (NE) differentiation in adenocarcinoma of the prostate is associated with more aggressive behavior. Most studies included patients with tumors of a wide range of grades and stages and an end point of disease-specific survival, a relatively insensitive marker of progression. The authors studied completely embedded radical prostatectomy specimens from 104 patients with clinically organ- confined carcinoma and no history of adjuvant or neoadjuvant therapy. Progression was marked by a serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) concentration ≤ 0.2 ng/mL. Seventy-six men did not progress, with a mean follow-up period of 8.0 years (range = 7 to 10 years). Forty-eight men progressed at a mean time after surgery of 3.6 years (range = 1 to 8 years). Twenty-one percent of the tumors were organ confined: 79% had capsular penetration. Seminal vesicles and lymph nodes were negative in all cases. A representative section through the main tumor mass was stained for chromogranin A. Reactive neoplastic cells were counted subjectively as well as individually enumerated. Gleason grade, pathological stage, and degree of NE differentiation all correlated with progression. Only grade and extent of NE differentiation predicted progression in a multivariate analysis. NE differentiation did not correlate with stage or grade. Extent of NE differentiation separated patients (59 cases) with tumors of Gleason aura ≤ 6 into groups with high and low risks for progression (P < .008) independent of Gleason sum. Extent of NE differentiation provides prognostic information in addition to that provided by grade in cases of early prostate cancer treated by radical prostatectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-687
Number of pages5
JournalHuman pathology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1996


  • chromogranin
  • neuroendocrine
  • progression
  • prostate
  • radical prostatectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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