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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Who bears the greatest burden of aggressive treatment of indolent prostate cancer?

  • Author(s): Mahal, Brandon A
  • Cooperberg, Matthew R
  • Aizer, Ayal A
  • Ziehr, David R
  • Hyatt, Andrew S
  • Choueiri, Toni K
  • Hu, Jim C
  • Sweeney, Christopher J
  • Beard, Clair J
  • D'Amico, Anthony V
  • Martin, Neil E
  • Orio, Peter F
  • Trinh, Quoc-Dien
  • Nguyen, Paul L
  • et al.

PURPOSE: The long-term prostate cancer-specific survival for patients initially managed with active surveillance for low-risk prostate cancer ranges from 97% to 100%. We characterized factors that are associated with aggressive treatment with radical prostatectomy or radiation for indolent prostate cancer (defined as screening-detected, low-risk disease). METHODS: The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program was used to extract a cohort of 39,803 men diagnosed with prostate-specific antigen-detected, low-risk prostate cancer (clinical category T1c, Gleason score ≤6, and prostate-specific antigen <10) from 2004 to 2010. After socioeconomic profiles were generated from county-linked education and income data, multivariable logistic regression was used to determine whether there were any factors associated with high rates of aggressive treatment. RESULTS: The rate of aggressive treatment among all men with indolent prostate cancer was 64.3%. Greater rates of aggressive treatment were experienced by men with high socioeconomic status, Caucasian men, and married men (P < .001 for all cases). The increased adjusted odds for receipt of aggressive therapy were 1.25 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.17-1.32; P < .001), 1.26 (95% CI, 1.21-1.32; P < .001), and 1.88 (95% CI, 1.80-1.97; P < .001) for men with high socioeconomic status, Caucasian men, and married men, respectively, compared with men with low socioeconomic status, non-Caucasian men, and unmarried men, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Although men with high socioeconomic status, Caucasian men, and married men often receive the highest quality health care and have the best outcomes for many cancers, it seems that they are most at risk for the avoidable potential harms of aggressive treatment of indolent prostate cancer. Future policy should encourage more stringent guidelines for deferred treatment and culturally and sociodemographically competent counseling of active surveillance.

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