Paul F. Schellhammer, MD | Authors

OBHospitalist Group

St. Charles Medical Center

2600 Neff Drive

Bend

97702

Articles

Contemporary Management of Prostate Cancer With Lethal Potential

June 01, 2004

Screening for prostate cancer by determining serum prostate-specificantigen (PSA) levels has resulted in a stage migration such thatpatients with high-risk disease are more likely to be candidates for curativelocal therapy. By combining serum PSA, clinical stage, and biopsyinformation-both Gleason score and volume of tumor in the biopsycores-specimen pathologic stage and patient biochemical disease-freesurvival can be estimated. This information can help patients and cliniciansunderstand the severity of disease and the need for multimodaltherapy, often in the context of a clinical trial. While the mainstays oftreatment for local disease control are radical prostatectomy and radiationtherapy, systemic therapy must be considered as well. A randomizedtrial has shown a survival benefit for radical prostatectomy inpatients with positive lymph nodes who undergo immediate adjuvantandrogen deprivation. Clinical trials are needed to clarify whether adjuvantradiation therapy after surgery confers a survival benefit. PSAis a sensitive marker for follow-up after local treatment and has proventhat conventional external-beam irradiation alone is inadequate treatmentfor high-risk disease. Fortunately, the technology of radiationdelivery has been dramatically improved with tools such as three-dimensionalconformal radiation, intensity-modulated radiation therapy,and high-dose-rate brachytherapy. The further contributions of pelvicirradiation and neoadjuvant, concurrent, and adjuvant androgen deprivationtherapy have been defined in clinical trials. Future managementof high-risk prostate cancer may be expanded by clinical trialsevaluating neoadjuvant and/or adjuvant chemotherapy in combinationwith androgen deprivation.