Long-term follow-up of radical retropubic prostatectomy for prostate cancer

G. P. Swanson, M. W. Riggs, J. D. Earle, M. G. Haddock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objectives: The ultimate outcome of patients after radical prostatectomy is often predicted from statistical projections of short-term follow-up. Only actual long-term follow-up can demonstrate true outcome. Methods: One hundred thirty-one patients underwent retropubic prostatectomy for clinically organ confined prostate cancer and have been followed for a minimum of 22.5 years. Preoperatively, all but 12 had clinically palpable cancer. Results: Overall survival in these patients was similar to an age-matched population, with 65% alive at 15 years, and 23% alive at 25 years. Thirty-seven percent of the patients recurred and 24% of all the patients died of prostate cancer. For patients with pathologically organ confined disease, 27% recurred, while those with extension outside the gland or positive nodes had an 83% recurrence rate. Although, the median time to recurrence was 7 years, recurrences occurred at a steady-state throughout the length of follow-up. Patients with higher grade tumors, even if organ confined, were significantly more likely to recur. Conclusions: In a cohort of patients treated with radical prostatectomy for predominantly palpable disease, long-term follow-up (79% deceased) reveals that 37% will recur and 24% will die of prostate cancer. Almost half the recurrences occurred after 10 years, indicating that reports with shorter follow-up will underestimate the recurrence rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-216
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean urology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002


  • Long-term follow-up
  • Radical prostatectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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