The relationship between biochemical recurrence and number of lymph nodes removed during surgery for localized prostate cancer

Paul Doan, Athos Katelaris, Matthijs J. Scheltema, Andrew Hayen, Amer Amin, Amila Siriwardana, Minh Tran, Bart Geboers, William Gondoputro, Anne Maree Haynes, Jayne Matthews, Warick Delprado, Phillip D. Stricker, James Thompson

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Purpose: To assess whether completeness of pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND) as measured by lymph node yield reduces biochemical recurrence (BCR) in men undergoing radical prostatectomy (RP) for prostate cancer (PCa), stratified according to Briganti nomogram-derived risk (≥5% vs. < 5%) of lymph node invasion (LNI). Methods: Retrospective study of 3724 men who underwent RP between January 1995 and January 2015 from our prospectively collected institutional database. All men included had minimum five years follow-up and were not given androgen deprivation therapy or radiotherapy prior to BCR. Primary endpoint was time to BCR as defined by PSA > 0.2ng/ml. Patients were analysed according to Briganti Nomogram derived risk of ‘low-risk’ (< 5%) vs. ‘high-risk’ (≥ 5%). Extent of PLND was analysed using number of nodes yielded at dissection as a continuous variable as well as a categorical variable: Group 1 (limited, 1–4 nodes), Group 2 (intermediate, 5–8 nodes) and Group 3(extensive, ≥9 nodes). Results: Median follow-up in the overall cohort was 79.7 months and 65% of the total cohort underwent PLND. There were 2402 patients with Briganti risk of LNI < 5% and 1322 with a Briganti risk of LNI ≥5%. At multivariate analysis, only PSA (HR1.01, p < 0.001), extracapsular extension at RP (HR 1.86, p < 0.001), positive surgical margin (HR 1.61, p < 0.001) and positive lymph node on pathology (HR 1.52, p = 0.02) were independently associated with BCR. In the high-risk group, increased nodal yield at PLND was associated with reduction in risk of BCR (HR 0.97, 95%CI 0.95-1.00 p = 0.05, Cochran Mantel Haenszel test, p < 0.05: respectively). In the low-risk group increased number of nodes at PLND did not reduce risk of BCR. Conclusions: In this study of extent of PLND at RP, higher nodal yield did not reduce risk of BCR in low-risk men (Briganti risk < 5%), however there was a weak benefit in terms of reduced long-term risk of BCR in high-risk men (Briganti risk ≥5%).

Original languageEnglish
Article number68
JournalBMC urology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Biochemical recurrence
  • Lymph node dissection
  • Prostate cancer

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