Prostate Cancer Smart Surgery Treatment Trifecta

Nerve-sparing robotic prostatectomy

November 23, 2009

Nerve-sparing robotic prostatectomy in preoperatively high-risk patients is safe and efficacious.


Hugh J. Lavery, M.D., Fatima Nabizada-Pace, M.P.H., John R. Carlucci, M.D., Jonathan S. Brajtbord, B.A., David B. Samadi, M.D.

Department of Urology, Division of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery, The Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY 10022, USA

Objective: Given the higher likelihood of extraprostatic extension in high-risk patients, many urologists will sacrifice the neurovascular bundles in such patients in an attempt to decrease the risk of positive surgical margins. In contrast, we frequently perform nerve-sparing in high-risk patients. We analyzed our outcomes in patients with preoperatively high-risk prostate cancer according to the D’Amico risk group classification, and stratified by nerve-sparing status.

Materials and methods: An institutional database of 1,503 robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomies (RALP) was queried for patients presenting with PSA 20 ng/ml, Gleason 8 or higher on biopsy, or clinical stage T2c or higher. Interfascial nerve-sparing was performed whenever oncologically feasible. Validated questionnaires were used to assess baseline and postoperative functional outcomes.

Results: Adequate follow-up was available in 123 high-risk patients. Mean serum PSA was 10.8. Bilateral, unilateral, and non-nervesparing was performed on 58%, 15%, and 27%, respectively. On final histopathology, 42% were organ confined; 55 patients had extraprostatic extension, and 35 had seminal vesicle invasion. Positive surgical margins occurred in 31%: 15% focal and 16% extensive. Favorable pathologic outcomes (organ-confined and negative surgical margins) were observed in 40%. Biochemical recurrence occurred in
20%. Nerve-sparing was associated with more favorable pathologic features, possibly due to selection bias. When controlling for adverse pathologic features, nerve-sparing was not associated with higher rates of positive surgical margins or biochemical recurrence. At a median follow-up of 13 months, 78% were continent and 56% were potent. The “trifecta” of continence, potency, and freedom from recurrence was
achieved in 28 patients (23%).

Conclusions: Nerve-sparing robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy can be safely performed in patients with preoperatively high risk prostate cancer. Histopathologic and short-term oncologic outcomes at 13-month median follow-up are comparable to those in open surgical series from similar cohorts.