Radiotherapy and Oncology vol:79 issue:1 pages:1-14
Routine PSA testing has led to diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer at earlier stages than previously. Earlier and technically-improved treatment, together with escalation of dose has enhanced cure rates. Although, the incidence of nodal metastases is now lower than in pre-PSA days, more extended pelvic lymphadenectomies have shown the actual rate of lymph node involvement to be higher than had been determined from standard radical prostate surgery. As in cancers in other sites, especially in their earlier stages, lymph node metastases may exist in the absence of haematogenous dissemination. This, together with the improved rates of control of the primary prostate tumour, suggests that elective irradiation of early-stage lymph nodes from prostate cancer should enhance survival in a manner analogous to improvements seen with this approach in other cancers. Although, the absolute incidence of positive nodes in locally advanced prostate cancer warrants elective radiotherapy, it is relatively low and the modest improvements to be expected may be undetected in the results of a small trial.