Objectives. To determine the outcome for node-positive prostate cancer treated by early androgen ablation with or without prostatic radiation. Methods. Two hundred fifty-five men with lymphadenectomy-proven pelvic nodal metastases treated with early androgen ablation alone (n = 183) or with combined ablation and radiation (n = 72) between 1984 and 1998 were retrospectively reviewed for disease outcome and survival. Post-treatment disease status was based on the prostate-specific antigen levels or on the clinical and radiographic status for patients treated before 1987. Univariate and multivariate statistics were used to determine the prognostic factors and assess the influence of radiation treatment. Results. With a median follow-up of 9.4 years, the 5, 10, and 13-year overall survival rate for those treated with early ablation alone was 83%, 46%, and 21%, respectively. The freedom from relapse or rising prostate-specific antigen rate for these patients was 41%, 25%, and 19% at 5, 10, and 13 years, respectively. Distant metastasis and local recurrence occurred with a 10-year actuarial incidence of 44% and 51%, respectively. With a median follow-up of 6.2 years, the 5 and 10-year overall survival rate for those treated with radiation and ablation was 92% and 67%, respectively. The freedom from relapse or rising prostate-specific antigen rate in these men was 91% and 80% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. The superior outcome for combined ablation and radiation was substantial and statistically significant in the univariate and multivariate analyses. Conclusions. Early androgen ablation alone has little curative potential for node-positive prostate cancer. The addition of prostatic radiation to ablation resulted in substantial and significant improvement in disease control and patient survival.
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