OBJECTIVES: The treatment of patients presenting with an isolated PSA recurrence after radical prostatectomy (RP) remains controversial. The present study aims at assessing the results of salvage radiotherapy (RT), to define prognostic factors and to identify subgroups of patients most suitable for RT with curative intent.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A retrospective study was performed of 53 patients, diagnosed with a rising PSA after RP, and treated with RT to the prostate bed, between July 1992 and July 1998.
RESULTS: On univariate analysis, significant determinants to obtain and maintain a nondetectable PSA (< 0.02 ng/ml) were Gleason grade (< or = III vs. < or = IV), pre-RT PSA, considered as categorical or continuous variable, and pathological stage, pT (2 vs. 3). Pre-RP PSA (< or = 10 vs. >10), time interval between surgery and moment of rising PSA and pathological section margin status were not significant. On multivariate analysis, only Gleason grade and pre-RT PSA remained significant. For the patient group with a Gleason grade < or = III the PSA-free survival at 3 years was 75% (+/- 11%) compared to 27% (+/- 9%) for the patients with a Gleason grade > or = IV (p = 0.002). Pre-RT PSA significantly influenced PSA-free survival in the first group, but not in the latter.
CONCLUSION: From the group of RP patients with rising PSA following a postsurgery PSA-free period, subgroups can be defined with a distinctly different probability of obtaining and maintaining nondetectable PSA levels after salvage RT.