In 2008, we reported that radical prostatectomy, as compared with watchful waiting, reduces the rate of death from prostate cancer. After an additional 3 years of follow-up, we now report estimated 15-year results.
From October 1989 through February 1999, we randomly assigned 695 men with early prostate cancer to watchful waiting or radical prostatectomy. Follow-up was complete through December 2009, with histopathological review of biopsy and radical-prostatectomy specimens and blinded evaluation of causes of death. Relative risks, with 95% confidence intervals, were estimated with the use of a Cox proportional-hazards model.
During a median of 12.8 years, 166 of the 347 men in the radical-prostatectomy group and 201 of the 348 in the watchful-waiting group died (P=0.007). In the case of 55 men assigned to surgery and 81 men assigned to watchful waiting, death was due to prostate cancer. This yielded a cumulative incidence of death from prostate cancer at 15 years of 14.6% and 20.7%, respectively (a difference of 6.1 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.2 to 12.0), and a relative risk with surgery of 0.62 (95% CI, 0.44 to 0.87; P=0.01). The survival benefit was similar before and after 9 years of follow-up, was observed also among men with low-risk prostate cancer, and was confined to men younger than 65 years of age. The number needed to treat to avert one death was 15 overall and 7 for men younger than 65 years of age. Among men who underwent radical prostatectomy, those with extracapsular tumor growth had a risk of death from prostate cancer that was 7 times that of men without extracapsular tumor growth (relative risk, 6.9; 95% CI, 2.6 to 18.4).
Radical prostatectomy was associated with a reduction in the rate of death from prostate cancer. Men with extracapsular tumor growth may benefit from adjuvant local or systemic treatment.
2011. Vol. 364, no 18, 1708-1717 p.