Lymph node staging in prostate cancer: perspective for the pathologist

Pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND) currently represents the gold standard method for nodal staging in the setting of localised prostate cancer and may also have a therapeutic benefit in certain patients. The histopathological evaluation of PLND specimens plays a critical role in accurate lymph node staging, however there is currently a lack of consensus regarding the optimum approach and no quality parameters are in place. In addition, there are no guidelines as to the handling of less commonly encountered nodal specimens such as those identified within the anterior fat pad. This summary provides an overview of pertinent issues regarding lymph node staging in prostate cancer, with a focus on the histopathological evaluation of resected nodal specimens. We hope that this review will further the discussion on how to achieve a more standardised approach to the processing and reporting of PLND specimens in the setting of prostate cancer.

Journal of clinical pathology. 2016 Aug 23 [Epub ahead of print]

Susan Prendeville, Theodorus H van der Kwast

Department of Pathology, Laboratory Medicine Program, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.