Management of Patients with Node-positive Prostate Cancer at Radical Prostatectomy and Pelvic Lymph Node Dissection: A Systematic Review

EAU-YAU Prostate Cancer Working Party

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


CONTEXT: Optimal management of prostate cancer (PCa) patients with lymph node invasion at radical prostatectomy and pelvic lymph node dissection still remains unclear. OBJECTIVE: To assess the effectiveness of postoperative treatment strategies for pathologically node-positive PCa patients. The secondary aim was to identify the most relevant prognostic factors to guide the management of pN1 patients. EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: A systematic review was performed in January 2020 using Medline, Embase, and other databases. A total of 5063 articles were screened, and 26 studies including 12 537 men were selected for data synthesis and included in the current review according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) recommendations. EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Ten-year biochemical recurrence (BCR)-free, clinical recurrence-free, cancer-specific (CSS), and overall (OS) survival rates ranged from 28% to 56%, 70% to 92%, 72% to 98%, and 60% to 87.6%, respectively. A total of seven, five, and six studies assessed the oncological outcomes of observation, adjuvant radiotherapy (aRT), or adjuvant androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), respectively. Initial observation followed by salvage therapies at the time of recurrence represents a safe option in selected patients with a low disease burden. The use of aRT with or without ADT might improve survival in men with locally advanced disease and a higher number of positive nodes. Risk stratification according to pathological Gleason score, number of positive nodes, pathological stage, and surgical margins status is the key to risk stratification and selection of the optimal postoperative therapy. Limitations of this systematic review are the retrospective design of the studies included and the lack of data on adverse events. CONCLUSIONS: While the majority of men with pN1 disease would experience BCR after surgery, long-term disease-free survival has been reported in selected patients. Management options to improve oncological outcomes include observation versus adjuvant therapies such as aRT and/or ADT. Disease characteristics should be used to select the optimal postoperative management for pN1 PCa patients. PATIENT SUMMARY: Finding node-positive prostate cancer after a radical prostatectomy often leads to high postoperative prostate-specific antigen levels and is overall a poor prognostic factor. However, this does not necessarily translate into poor survival for all men. Management can be tailored to the severity of disease and options include observation, androgen deprivation therapy, and/or radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-581
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Urology Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Lymph node
  • Positive nodes
  • Prostate cancer
  • Radical prostatectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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