Objectives. Increasingly, nonpalpable prostate-specific antigen (PSA)- detected (Stage T1c) tumors are being treated with curative intent. Presently, only limited information is available regarding pathologic findings correlated with preoperative PSA levels. Herein, we report the characteristics of Stage T1c tumors in a contemporary surgical series. Methods. Clinical and pathologic results in 107 patients with Stage T1c tumors treated with radical prostatectomy were compared with those in 300 patients with palpable (Stage T2) tumors. Multivariate analysis was performed to determine which clinical variables independently predicted pathologic staging. Results. Stage T1c tumors were equivalent to Stage T2 tumors with respect to organ-confined and margin-positive rates, PSA level was the strongest independent predictor of extracapsular and margin-positive rates (P = 0.003]. The absence of palpability was not a significant predictor of pathologic outcome. Significantly higher rates of organ- and specimen- confined disease were seen in patients with PSA levels less than 10.0 ng/mL, particularly less than 7.0 ng/mL. Patients with serum PSA levels greater than 20 ng/mL were at high risk for positive margins (relative risk 5.42, P <0.001). Conclusions. Stage T1c tumors represent a heterogeneous group of cancers. These tumors are pathologically similar to Stage T2 tumors, and patients should be offered similar treatment options. PSA level was the strongest predictor of pathologic stage, irrespective of tumor palpability. These results suggest that efforts directed toward identifying cancers, including nonpalpable tumors, in patients with early PSA elevations may result in improved rates of organ-confined disease. The impact of treatment on Stage T1c tumors remains to be defined.
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