Disease reclassification risk with stringent criteria and frequent monitoring in men with favourable-risk prostate cancer undergoing active surveillance

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To determine the frequency of disease reclassification and to identify clinicopathological variables associated with it in patients with favourable-risk prostate cancer undergoing active surveillance (AS).

Patients and Methods

We assessed 191 men, selected by what may be the most stringent criteria used in AS studies yet conducted, who were enrolled in a prospective cohort AS trial. Clinicopathological characteristics were analysed in a multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression model. Key features were an extended biopsy with a single core positive for Gleason score (GS) 3 + 3 (<3 mm) or 3 + 4 (<2 mm) and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level <4 ng/mL (adjusted for prostate volume). Biopsies were repeated every 1–2 years and clinical evaluations every 6 months. Disease was reclassified when PSA level increased by 30% from baseline, or when biopsy tumour length increased beyond the enrolment criteria, more than one positive core was detected or any grade increased to a dominant 4 pattern or any 5 pattern.


Disease was reclassified in 32 patients (16.8%) including upgrading to GS 4 + 3 in five patients (2.6%). The median (interquartile range) follow-up time among survivors was 3 (1.9–4.6) years. Overall, 13 of the 32 (40.6%) had incremental increases in GS. Tumour length (hazard ratio 2.95, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.34–6.46; P = 0.007) and older age (hazard ratio 1.05, 95% CI 1.00–1.09; P = 0.05) were identified as significant and marginally significant predictors of disease reclassification, respectively. Disease remained stable in 83.2% of patients.


The need persists for improvements in risk stratification and predictive indicators of cancer progression.

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