Nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy using the neurovascular structure-adjacent frozen-section examination (NeuroSAFE): results after 20 years of experience.

To evaluate the long-term oncological outcomes and functional results of the neurovascular structure-adjacent frozen-section examination (NeuroSAFE) during nerve-sparing (NS) radical prostatectomy (RP).

A 10-yr survival analysis on 11069 RPs performed with or without the NeuroSAFE, between January 2002 to June 2011 was carried out. In the NeuroSAFE cohort, the neurovascular structure-adjacent prostatic margins are removed and stained for cryo-sectioning during RP. In case of a PSM, partial or full removal of the neurovascular bundle was performed. The impact of NeuroSAFE on biochemical recurrence-free survival (BFS), salvage radiation therapy-free survival, metastasis-free survival, and prostate cancer-specific survival at 10 years was analyzed. 1-year (1-yr) erectile function (EF), 1-yr, and 2-yr continence rates were assessed in propensity score-based matched cohorts.

Median follow-up was 121 (IQR: 73, 156) months. No differences in BFS between NeuroSAFE and non-NeuroSAFE were recorded (10-yr BFS: NeuroSAFE vs non-Neurosafe, pT2: 81% vs 84%, p = 0.06; pT3a: 58% vs. 63%, p = 0.6; ≥pT3b: 22% vs. 27%, p = 0.99). No differences were found between the two groups in terms of sRFS (pT2: p = 0.1; pT3a: p = 0.4; ≥pT3b: p = 0.4) (Fig. 1B, Table 2), and MTS (pT2: p = 0.3; pT3a: p = 0.6; ≥pT3b: p = 0.9). The NeuroSAFE-navigated patients reported a better 1-yr EF than non-NeuroSAFE (68% vs. 58%, p = 0.02) and no differences in 1-yr and 2-yr continence rates (92.4% vs. 91.8%, and 93.4% vs. 93%, respectively). The main limitation is the retrospective study design.

While the NeuroSAFE approach did not show significant improvements in long-term oncologic or continence outcomes, it did provide an opportunity for a higher proportion of patients to improve postoperative functional results, possibly through increased nerve-sparing procedures.

Prostate cancer and prostatic diseases. 2024 Jun 11 [Epub ahead of print]

Francesca Ambrosini, Felix Preisser, Derya Tilki, Hans Heinzer, Georg Salomon, Uwe Michl, Thomas Steuber, Tobias Maurer, Felix K H Chun, Lars Budäus, Randi M Pose, Carlo Terrone, Thorsten Schlomm, Pierre Tennstedt, Hartwig Huland, Markus Graefen, Alexander Haese

Martini-Klinik Prostate Cancer Center, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany., Department of Urology, University Hospital Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany., IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genova, Italia., Department of Urology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany., Martini-Klinik Prostate Cancer Center, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany. .