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Repeat prostate biopsies not tied to biochemical recurrence

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Multiple prostate biopsy sessions don’t increase the risk of biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy, a new study shows.

“Patients often question whether repeat prostate biopsies will make their cancer worse or decrease their chance of cure with treatment,” Dr. Christopher J. Kane told Reuters Health by email.

Dr. Kane, the senior author of a report online April 12th in The Journal of Urology, observes that men are often advised to have repeat prostate biopsies, “either because of a rising PSA (prostate specific antigen) or because they have low risk prostate cancer and are being followed on active surveillance.”

In a recent study, Dr. Kane of the University of California, San Diego and colleagues looked at data on 2,739 radical prostatectomies done between 1988 and 2010. Most of the men (2,251, or 82%) had only one biopsy, 365 (13%) had two biopsies and 123 (5%) had three or more biopsies.

More biopsy sessions were associated with significantly higher prostate specific antigen levels, greater prostate weight, lower biopsy Gleason sum and more organ confined disease.

However, there was no association between the number of biopsy sessions and biochemical recurrence. Estimates of freedom from biochemical recurrence were similar across biopsy groups.

The number of cores obtained was also not associated with biochemical recurrence.

In his email, Dr. Kane concluded, “We found that men who had repeat prostate biopsies did not have worse cancer or worse outcomes after radical prostatectomy. So the reassuring take home message for men is that repeat prostate biopsies, although unpleasant and sometimes associated with other complications such as pain or infection, do not appear to negatively affect prostate cancer outcomes.”


J Urol 2012.