We evaluate a strategy of expectant management for men with stage T1c prostate cancer.

Materials and Methods:

A total of 81 men (median age 65 years, range 52 to 72) with stage T1c prostate cancer who were thought to have small volume prostate cancer based on needle biopsy findings and prostate specific antigen (PSA) density were followed for more than 1 year with semiannual PSA and digital rectal examination, and annual prostate biopsies (median followup 23 months, range 12 to 58). A recommendation for treatment was made if disease progression was indicated by unfavorable followup needle biopsy findings (Gleason pattern 4 or 5, greater than 2 biopsy cores with cancer, greater than 50% involvement of any core with cancer). Curable disease was defined on pathological examination of radical prostatectomy specimens as 1) organ confined cancer of Gleason score 7 or less, 2) cancer with extraprostatic extension of Gleason score 7 (3+4) or less with negative margins, seminal vesicles and lymph nodes, or 3) cancer of Gleason score 6 or less regardless of margin status or extraprostatic extension if negative seminal vesicles and lymph nodes.


Of the 81 men 25 (31%) had progression of disease at followup. PSA density was statistically significantly higher (p = 0.01) and the percentage of free PSA was statistically significantly lower (p = 0.04) in men with compared to those without disease progression. Disease progression occurred in 22 of 39 men (56%) with every followup biopsy showing cancer compared to 3 of 42 (2%) men with 1 or more negative followup biopsies (p <0.001). Of the 25 men with progression 13 underwent radical prostatectomy and 12 of 13 (92%) had curable cancers.


Expectant management with curative intent may be a reasonable alternative for carefully selected older men who are thought to have small volume cancers.


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From the Departments of Urology and Pathology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland