Prostate gland biopsies and prostatectomies: an Ontario community hospital experience
Objective: Transrectal ultrasound–guided core biopsies of the prostate gland and prostatectomies have become common procedures at many community hospitals in Canada, especially in the era of serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for prostate cancer. The Gleason grading of prostate cancer in biopsies and prostatectomies is a major determinant used for treatment planning. There is evidence in the literature that suggests important discordance between community hospital pathologists and urological pathologists with respect to the Gleason grading of prostate cancer. Our objective was to determine the diagnostic rates and Gleason scoring patterns for prostate gland biopsies and prostatectomies at our institution compared with the literature.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of all prostate gland biopsies and prostatectomies performed at the Grey Bruce Health Services from January 2005 to September 2005. We collected data from 194 biopsies and 44 prostatectomies. We obtained prebiopsy serum PSA levels and digital rectal exam results for all patients from urologists’ office records.
Results: The average age for men having biopsies was 65.8 (standard deviation [SD] 8.6) years, and the average prebiopsy serum PSA level was 8.7 (median 7.1, SD 6.2) μg/L. The rates of diagnosis from prostate gland biopsies of benign (17.6%), high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (11.0%), atypical small acinar proliferation suspicious for invasive malignancy (13.2%) and invasive prostatic adenocarcinoma (58.2%) at our institution were significantly different than those reported in the literature (p < 0.001). We observed a significant variation in the rates of these diagnoses among the community hospital pathologists in our study (p = 0.004). There was a strong correlation between the increasing number of positive core biopsy sites and increasing Gleason scores in biopsies (p < 0.001). There was also a strong correlation between increasing prebiopsy serum PSA levels and increasing Gleason scores in biopsies (p < 0.001). A substantial proportion (21.9%) of the biopsies given the Gleason score of 6 had a Gleason score of 7 in the prostatectomy specimen.
Conclusion: Our results showed a significant difference in prostate gland biopsy categorical diagnoses compared with the literature. There were also significant differences in categorical diagnoses of prostate gland biopsies among the community hospital pathologists in our study. The data identify a strong positive correlation between the increasing number of positive core biopsy sites and increasing Gleason scores in biopsies, as well as a strong positive correlation between increasing prebiopsy serum PSA levels and increasing Gleason scores in biopsies that revealed cancer. We would encourage other community hospital pathologists, in collaboration with their urologists, to review periodically their prostate gland pathology practices in an attempt to improve the uniformity of diagnoses.
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