Locally Recurrent Prostate Cancer After Initial Radiation Therapy: A Comparison of Salvage Radical Prostatectomy Versus Cryotherapy

Louis L. Pisters, Dan Leibovici, Michael Blute, Horst Zincke, Thomas J. Sebo, Jeffrey M. Slezak, Jonathan Izawa, John F. Ward, Shellie M. Scott, Lydia Madsen, Philippe E. Spiess, Bradley C. Leibovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Purpose: We compared the treatment outcomes of salvage radical prostatectomy and salvage cryotherapy for patients with locally recurrent prostate cancer after initial radiation therapy. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients who underwent salvage radical prostatectomy at the Mayo Clinic between 1990 and 1999, and those who underwent salvage cryotherapy at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center between 1992 and 1995. Eligibility criteria were prostate specific antigen less than 10 ng/ml, post-radiation therapy biopsy showing Gleason score 8 or less and prior radiation therapy alone without pre-salvage or post-salvage hormonal therapy. We assessed the rates of biochemical disease-free survival, disease specific survival and overall survival in each group. Biochemical failure was assessed using the 2 definitions of 1) prostate specific antigen greater than 0.4 ng/ml and 2) 2 increases above the nadir prostate specific antigen. Results: Mean followup was 7.8 years for the salvage radical prostatectomy group and 5.5 years for the salvage cryotherapy group. Compared to salvage cryotherapy, salvage radical prostatectomy resulted in superior biochemical disease-free survival by both definitions of biochemical failure (prostate specific antigen greater than 0.4 ng/ml, salvage cryotherapy 21% vs salvage radical prostatectomy 61% at 5 years, p <0.001; 2 increases above nadir with salvage cryotherapy 42% vs salvage radical prostatectomy 66% at 5 years, p = 0.002) and in superior overall survival (at 5 years salvage cryotherapy 85% vs salvage radical prostatectomy 95%, p = 0.001). There was no significant difference in disease specific survival (at 5 years salvage cryotherapy 96% vs salvage radical prostatectomy 98%, p = 0.283). After adjusting for post-radiation therapy biopsy Gleason sum and pre-salvage treatment serum prostate specific antigen on multivariate analysis salvage radical prostatectomy remained superior to salvage cryotherapy for the end points of any increase in prostate specific antigen greater than 0.4 ng/ml (HR 0.24, p <0.0001), 2 increases in prostate specific antigen (HR 0.47, p = 0.02) and overall survival (HR 0.21, p = 0.01). Conclusions: Young, healthy patients with recurrent prostate cancer after radiation therapy should consider salvage radical prostatectomy as it offers superior biochemical disease-free survival and may potentially offer the best chance of cure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-527
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • cryotherapy
  • prostatectomy
  • prostatic neoplasms
  • radiotherapy
  • salvage therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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