Metastatic Prostate Cancer-Does Treatment of the Primary Tumor Matter?

Gregory Swanson, Ian Thompson, Joseph Basler, E. David Crawford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Purpose: In recent years there has been increased interest in adjuvant therapy for prostate cancer. This trend has engendered a tendency toward overlooking the issue of therapy to the primary tumor in advanced disease. We reviewed the effect of treating the principal disease bulk on overall treatment outcome in patients with advanced and metastatic cancer. Specifically we evaluated the role of surgical tumor cytoreduction. Materials and Methods: We performed a comprehensive literature review to evaluate the role of surgical debulking on the outcome of advanced cancer, including any published evidence supporting a benefit of this therapy for prostate cancer. Results: Even in cancers for which adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation are used liberally there is a clear benefit to optimal surgical debulking for local control and survival. The beneficial role of maximal surgical cytoreduction has been clearly demonstrated in advanced ovarian cancer and gastrointestinal carcinomatosis. Maximal debulking of brain, liver and lung metastasis has translated into longer survival. Removal of the primary tumor has been proved to increase survival in randomized trials of metastatic renal cell cancer. It appears that patients with node positive and possibly metastatic prostate cancer have a better response to androgen ablation with surgical removal of the gland. Conclusions: Surgical cytoreduction of cancer results in a more favorable and durable response to systemic therapy. It is reasonable to explore aggressive surgical therapy for advanced prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1292-1298
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • prostate
  • prostatic neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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