Neurovascular structure-adjacent frozen-section examination (NeuroSAFE) increases nerve-sparing frequency and reduces positive surgical margins in open and robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy: Experience after 11 069 consecutive patients - A

BACKGROUND:Intraoperative frozen-section analysis allows real-time histologic assessment of surgical margins (SMs) and identification of candidates for nerve-sparing (NS) procedures.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the efficacy and oncologic safety of a systematic neurovascular structure-adjacent frozen-section examination (NeuroSAFE) during NS radical prostatectomy (RP).

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: From January 2002 to June 2011, 11 069 consecutive RPs were performed at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. Of these, 5392 (49%) were conducted with NeuroSAFE.

SURGICAL PROCEDURE: Our NeuroSAFE approach included the whole laterorectal circumference of the prostate to determine the SM status of the complete neurovascular tissue-corresponding prostatic surface.

OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: The impact of NeuroSAFE on NS frequency, SM status, and biochemical recurrence (BCR) was analyzed by chi-square test, and by Kaplan-Meier analyses in propensity score-based matched cohorts.

RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS: Positive SMs (PSMs) were detected in 1368 (25%) NeuroSAFE RPs, leading to a secondary resection of the ipsilateral neurovascular tissue. Secondary wide resection resulted in conversion to a definitive negative SM (NSM) status in 1180 (86%) patients. In NeuroSAFE RPs, frequency of NS was significantly higher (all stages: 97% vs 81%; pT2: 99% vs 92%; pT3a: 94% vs 72%; pT3b: 88% vs 40%; p< 0.0001) and PSM rates were significantly lower (all stages: 15% vs 22%; pT2: 7% vs 12%; pT3a: 21% vs 32%; p< 0.0001) than in the matched non-NeuroSAFE RPs. In propensity score-based comparisons, NeuroSAFE had no negative impact on BCR (pT2, p=0.06; pT3a, p=0.17, pT3b, p=0.99), and BCR-free survival of patients with conversion to NSM did not differ significantly from patients with primarily NSM (pT2, p=0.16; pT3, p=0.26). The accuracy of our NeuroSAFE approach was 97% with a false-negative rate of 2.5%. The major limitations of this study are its retrospective nature and relatively short follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: NeuroSAFE enables real-time histologic monitoring of the oncologic safety of a NS procedure. Systematic NeuroSAFE significantly increases NS frequencies and reduces PSMs. Patients with a NeuroSAFE-detected PSM could be converted to a prognostically more favorable NSM status by secondary wide resection.

Written by:
Schlomm T, Tennstedt P, Huxhold C, Steuber T, Salomon G, Michl U, Heinzer H, Hansen J, Budäus L, Steurer S, Wittmer C, Minner S, Haese A, Sauter G, Graefen M, Huland H. Are you the author?
Martini-Clinic, Prostate Cancer Center, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany; Department of Urology, Section for Translational Prostate Cancer Research, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

Reference: Eur Urol. 2012 May 10. Epub ahead of print.
doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2012.04.057

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 22591631 Prostate Cancer Section