The Treatment of Localized Prostate Cancer in Everyday Practice in Germany

Prostate cancer is now often diagnosed in the localized, welldifferentiated stage. In the HAROW study, we investigated the care situation with respect to the various treatment options for localized prostate cancer in everyday clinical practice in Germany.

Study physicians for this prospective, multicenter observational study were recruited through the Federation of German Urologists. At six-month intervals, clinical variables were recorded (T category, prostate-specific antigen [PSA], Gleason score, d'Amico risk profile, Charlson Comorbidity Index [CCI]) and patients filled out questionnaires (QLQ-C30) regarding their indicationrelated quality of life (QoL). Covariance analysis was used to adjust for the variable distribution of patient features among the treatment groups.

Data from 2957 patients were available for analysis. The mean followup time was 28.4 months overall, and 47.6 months in the active surveillance (AS) group. Younger patients and patients with a CCI of 0 or 1 predominated in the AS and surgery groups; older patients and patients with a CCI of 2 or above predominated in the groups in which palliative treatment strategies such as hormone therapy (HT) and watchful waiting were applied. The HT group had the highest percentage of patients with a Gleason score of 8 or above (21.2%), while the AS group had the highest percentage of patients with a Gleason score of 6 or below (92.5%), as well as the lowest mean PSA value (5.8 ± 3.4 ng/mL) and the highest percentage of patients with a low-risk profile (82.5%). Of 468 patients in the AS group, 170 (36.3%) underwent a change of treatment strategy. After adjustment for the severity of disease, no significant difference with respect to the global quality of life was found between AS and the curative treatment options over the long term.

The study physicians drew a clear distinction between curative and palliative treatment strategies, and the inclusion criteria for AS were largely respected. The observed preference for surgery in low-risk patients indicates overtreatment in this patient group.

Deutsches Ärzteblatt international. 2016 May 13 [Epub]

Jan Herden, Lena Ansmann, Nicole Ernstmann, Dietrich Schnell, Lotharh Weißbac

Department of Urology, Cologne University Hospital, Cologne, Institute for Medical Sociology, Healthcare Research and Rehabilitation Science, Cologne University, Cologne, Foundation of Men's Health, Berlin.