Objectives. To determine whether the bladder neck-sparing (BNS) modification of radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP) alters the likelihood of positive surgical margins and postsurgical prostate cancer recurrence. Methods. Surgical outcomes, as measured by pathologic margin status and progression-free survival, were evaluated in 751 consecutive RRP cases, among whom 222 underwent BNS technique. To reduce selection bias, comparison of positive margin rates between BNS and standard RRP was stratified by pathologic stage. Differences in surgical margin rates were assessed using the chi-square test, and effects of bladder neck preservation on prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-free survival were assessed, using multivariable Cox proportional hazards analysis. Results. The clinical stage, Gleason score, and preoperative serum PSA profiles were similarly distributed between patients undergoing standard RRP and those undergoing the BNS modification. Surgical margins in the unstratified entire cohort were positive at rates similar to prior reports (28% BNS, 27% standard RRP). However, stratification by pathologic stage revealed that among pT3a cancers, BNS surgery was associated with significantly higher rates of positive surgical margins than was standard RRP (47% versus 20%; chi- square = 6.32, P = 0.01). Differences in positive margin rates were not seen between the two groups at other pathologic stages. The adverse effect of BNS technique on pT3a surgical margins was associated with a trend toward an adverse effect on PSA-free survival (Cox proportional hazards P = 0.016). Conclusions. The BNS modification of RRP can be associated with an increased rate of positive surgical margins specifically in cancers that have focally penetrated through the prostatic capsule (pT3a), with an associated trend toward decreased PSA-free survival in this group. BNS surgery may, therefore, compromise the ability to completely remove a subset of cancers focally penetrating the prostatic capsule. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.
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