Objectives. To determine whether in the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) era stage and/or grade migration of patients treated with radical prostatectomy (RP) has occurred. We also examined whether the biochemical recurrence rates after RP have changed with time. Methods. A total of 1654 patients from the Shared Equal Access Regional Cancer Hospital (SEARCH) database were analyzed for time trends in age, preoperative PSA level, clinical stage, biopsy Gleason score, prostatectomy Gleason grade, pathologic stage, margin status, and recurrence rates after RP. Results were stratified into three 4-year blocks of time between 1988 and 2002 for analysis. Results. The preoperative PSA level, patient age, tumor stage, rate of capsular penetration, and lymph node involvement decreased with time. Both biopsy and pathologic Gleason grade steadily increased with time. The positive margin rate and incidence of seminal vesicle involvement remained stable. On multivariate analysis, only serum PSA level (P <0.001) and biopsy Gleason score (P <0.001) were significant independent predictors of the time to recurrence after RP. The year of surgery was not a significant independent predictor of biochemical recurrence after RP in multivariate analysis. Conclusions. Despite lower stage and lower PSA levels with time, we found no improvement in PSA recurrence rates over time. This may reflect lead-time bias in detecting PSA recurrence by the use of more sensitive PSA assays in recent years.
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