Outcomes of men with an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level as their sole preoperative intermediate- or high-risk feature

Farzana A. Faisal, Debasish Sundi, Phillip M. Pierorazio, Mark W. Ball, Elizabeth B. Humphreys, Misop Han, Jonathan I. Epstein, Alan W. Partin, H. Ballentine Carter, Trinity J. Bivalacqua, Edward M. Schaeffer, Ashley E. Ross

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18 Scopus citations


Objective To investigate the post-prostatectomy and long-term outcomes of men presenting with an elevated pretreatment prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level (>10ng/mL), but otherwise low-risk features (biopsy Gleason score ≤6 and clinical stage ≤T2a).

Patients and Methods PSA-incongruent intermediate-risk (PII) cases were defined as those patients with preoperative PSA >10 and ≤20ng/mL but otherwise low-risk features, and PSA-incongruent high-risk (PIH) cases were defined as men with PSA >20ng/mL but otherwise low-risk features. Our institutional radical prostatectomy database (1992-2012) was queried and the results were stratified into D'Amico low-, intermediate- and high risk, PSA-incongruent intermediate-risk and PSA-incongruent high-risk cases. Prostate cancer (PCa) features and outcomes were evaluated using appropriate comparative tests. Multivariable analyses were adjusted for age, race and year of surgery.

Results Of the total cohort of 17 608 men, 1132 (6.4%) had PII-risk disease and 183 (1.0%) had PIH-risk disease. Compared with the low-risk group, the odds of upgrading at radical prostatectomy (RP) were 2.20 (95% CI 1.93-2.52; P < 0.001) for the PII group and 3.58 (95% CI 2.64-4.85; P < 0.001) for the PIH group, the odds of extraprostatic disease at RP were 2.35 (95% CI 2.05-2.68; P < 0.001) for the PII group and 6.68 (95% CI 4.89-9.15; P < 0.001) for the PIH group, and the odds of positive surgical margins were 1.97 (95% CI 1.67-2.33; P < 0.001) for the PII group and 3.54 (95% CI 2.50-4.95, P < 0.001) for the PIH group. Compared with low-risk disease, PII-risk disease was associated with a 2.85-, 2.99- and 3.32-fold greater risk of biochemical recurrence (BCR), metastasis and PCa-specific mortality, respectively, and PIH-risk disease was associated with a 5.32-, 6.14- and 7.07-fold greater risk of BCR, metastasis and PCa-specific mortality, respectively (P ≤ 0.001 for all comparisons). For the PII group, the higher risks of positive surgical margins, upgrading, upstaging and BCR were dependent on PSA density (PSAD): men in the PII group who had a PSAD <0.15ng/mL/g were not at higher risk compared with those in the low-risk group. Men in the PII group with a PSAD ≥0.15ng/mL/g and men in the PIH group were more likely to have an anterior component of the dominant tumour (59 and 64%, respectively) compared with those in the low- (35%) and intermediate-risk group (39%) and those in the PII-risk group with PSAD <0.15ng/mL/g (29%).

Conclusions Men with PSA >20ng/mL or men with PSA >10 and ≤20ng/mL with a PSAD ≥0.15ng/mL/g, but otherwise low-risk PCa, are at greater risk of adverse pathological and oncological outcomes and may be inappropriate candidates for active surveillance. These men are at greater risk of having anterior tumours that are undersampled at biopsy, so if treatment is deferred, ancillary testing such as anterior zone sampling or magnetic resonance imaging should be strongly encouraged. Men with elevated PSA levels >10 and ≤20ng/mL but low PSAD have outcomes similar to those in the low-risk group, and consideration of surveillance is appropriate in these cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E120-E129
JournalBJU International
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • outcome
  • prostate cancer
  • prostate-specific antigen
  • prostatectomy
  • risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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