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1.  Radical Prostatectomy or Watchful Waiting in Early Prostate Cancer 
The New England journal of medicine  2014;370(10):932-942.
Radical prostatectomy reduces mortality among men with localized prostate cancer; however, important questions regarding long-term benefit remain.
Between 1989 and 1999, we randomly assigned 695 men with early prostate cancer to watchful waiting or radical prostatectomy and followed them through the end of 2012. The primary end points in the Scandinavian Prostate Cancer Group Study Number 4 (SPCG-4) were death from any cause, death from prostate cancer, and the risk of metastases. Secondary end points included the initiation of androgen-deprivation therapy.
During 23.2 years of follow-up, 200 of 347 men in the surgery group and 247 of the 348 men in the watchful-waiting group died. Of the deaths, 63 in the surgery group and 99 in the watchful-waiting group were due to prostate cancer; the relative risk was 0.56 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.41 to 0.77; P = 0.001), and the absolute difference was 11.0 percentage points (95% CI, 4.5 to 17.5). The number needed to treat to prevent one death was 8. One man died after surgery in the radical-prostatectomy group. Androgen-deprivation therapy was used in fewer patients who underwent prostatectomy (a difference of 25.0 percentage points; 95% CI, 17.7 to 32.3). The benefit of surgery with respect to death from prostate cancer was largest in men younger than 65 years of age (relative risk, 0.45) and in those with intermediate-risk prostate cancer (relative risk, 0.38). However, radical pros-tatectomy was associated with a reduced risk of metastases among older men (relative risk, 0.68; P = 0.04).
Extended follow-up confirmed a substantial reduction in mortality after radical prostatectomy; the number needed to treat to prevent one death continued to decrease when the treatment was modified according to age at diagnosis and tumor risk. A large proportion of long-term survivors in the watchful-waiting group have not required any palliative treatment. (Funded by the Swedish Cancer Society and others.)
PMCID: PMC4118145  PMID: 24597866
2.  Dietary Fatty Acid Intake and Prostate Cancer Survival in Örebro County, Sweden 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2012;176(3):240-252.
Although dietary fat has been associated with prostate cancer risk, the association between specific fatty acids and prostate cancer survival remains unclear. Dietary intake of 14 fatty acids was analyzed in a population-based cohort of 525 Swedish men with prostate cancer in Örebro County (1989–1994). Multivariable hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals for time to prostate cancer death by quartile and per standard deviation increase in intake were estimated by Cox proportional hazards regression. Additional models examined the association by stage at diagnosis (localized: T0-T2/M0; advanced: T0-T4/M1, T3-T4/M0). Among all men, those with the highest omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid and total marine fatty acid intakes were 40% less likely to die from prostate cancer (Ptrend = 0.05 and 0.04, respectively). Among men with localized prostate cancer, hazard ratios of 2.07 (95% confidence interval: 0.93, 4.59; Ptrend = 0.03) for elevated total fat, 2.39 (95% confidence interval: 1.06, 5.38) for saturated myristic acid, and 2.88 (95% confidence interval: 1.24, 6.67) for shorter chain (C4-C10) fatty acid intakes demonstrated increased risk for disease-specific mortality for the highest quartile compared with the lowest quartile. This study suggests that high intake of total fat and certain saturated fatty acids may worsen prostate cancer survival, particularly among men with localized disease. In contrast, high marine omega-3 fatty acid intake may improve disease-specific survival for all men.
PMCID: PMC3491963  PMID: 22781428
fatty acids; prostatic neoplasms; survival analysis
3.  Seasonal variation in expression of markers in the vitamin D pathway in prostate tissue 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2012;23(8):1359-1366.
Recent studies suggest variation in genes along the vitamin D pathway, as well as vitamin D receptor (VDR) protein levels, may be associated with prostate cancer. As serum vitamin D levels vary by season, we sought to determine whether expression of genes on the vitamin D pathway, assessed in prostate tumor tissue, do the same.
Our study incorporates mRNA expression data from 362 men in the Swedish Watchful Waiting cohort, diagnosed between 1977 and 1999, and 106 men enrolled in the US Physicians’ Health Study (PHS) diagnosed between 1983 and 2004. We also assayed for VDR protein expression among 832 men in the PHS and Health Professionals Follow-up Study cohorts. Season was characterized by date of initial tissue specimen collection categorically and by average monthly ultraviolet radiation levels. One-way analysis of variance was used to examine variation in expression levels of six genes on the vitamin D pathway – VDR, GC, CYP27A1, CYP27B1, RXRα, CYP24A1 – and VDR protein by season, adjusted for age at diagnosis and Gleason grade. Variation was also examined separately among lethal and nonlethal cases.
Tumor expression levels of the six genes did not significantly vary by season of tissue collection. No consistent patterns emerged from subgroup analyses by lethal versus nonlethal cases.
Unlike circulating levels of 25-OH vitamin D, expression levels of genes on the vitamin D pathway and VDR protein did not vary overall by season of tissue collection. Epidemiological analyses of vitamin D gene expression may not be biased by seasonality.
PMCID: PMC3589913  PMID: 22710747
Vitamin D; Vitamin D receptor; prostate cancer; gene expression; seasonality; biomarkers
4.  Utility of multispectral imaging in automated quantitative scoring of immunohistochemistry 
Journal of clinical pathology  2012;65(6):496-502.
Automated scanning devices and image analysis software provide a means to overcome the limitations of manual semiquantitative scoring of immunohistochemistry. Common drawbacks to automated imaging systems include an inability to classify tissue type and an inability to segregate cytoplasmic and nuclear staining.
Immunohistochemistry for the membranous marker α-catenin, the cytoplasmic marker stathmin and the nuclear marker Ki-67 was performed on tissue microarrays (TMA) of archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue comprising 471 (α-catenin and stathmin) and 511 (Ki-67) cases of prostate adenocarcinoma. These TMA were quantitatively analysed using two commercially available automated image analysers, the Ariol SL-50 system and the Nuance system from CRi. Both systems use brightfield microscopy for automated, unbiased and standardised quantification of immunohistochemistry, while the Nuance system has spectral deconvolution capabilities.
Overall concordance between scores from both systems was excellent (r=0.90; 0.83–0.95). The software associated with the multispectral imager allowed accurate automated classification of tissue type into epithelial glandular structures and stroma, and a single-step segmentation of staining into cytoplasmic or nuclear compartments allowing independent evaluation of these areas. The Nuance system, however, was not able to distinguish reliably between tumour and non-tumour tissue. In addition, variance in the labour and time required for analysis between the two systems was also noted.
Despite limitations, this study suggests some beneficial role for the use of a multispectral imaging system in automated analysis of immunohistochemistry.
PMCID: PMC3437674  PMID: 22447914
5.  mRNA Expression Signature of Gleason Grade Predicts Lethal Prostate Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(17):2391-2396.
Prostate-specific antigen screening has led to enormous overtreatment of prostate cancer because of the inability to distinguish potentially lethal disease at diagnosis. We reasoned that by identifying an mRNA signature of Gleason grade, the best predictor of prognosis, we could improve prediction of lethal disease among men with moderate Gleason 7 tumors, the most common grade, and the most indeterminate in terms of prognosis.
Patients and Methods
Using the complementary DNA–mediated annealing, selection, extension, and ligation assay, we measured the mRNA expression of 6,100 genes in prostate tumor tissue in the Swedish Watchful Waiting cohort (n = 358) and Physicians' Health Study (PHS; n = 109). We developed an mRNA signature of Gleason grade comparing individuals with Gleason ≤ 6 to those with Gleason ≥ 8 tumors and applied the model among patients with Gleason 7 to discriminate lethal cases.
We built a 157-gene signature using the Swedish data that predicted Gleason with low misclassification (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.91); when this signature was tested in the PHS, the discriminatory ability remained high (AUC = 0.94). In men with Gleason 7 tumors, who were excluded from the model building, the signature significantly improved the prediction of lethal disease beyond knowing whether the Gleason score was 4 + 3 or 3 + 4 (P = .006).
Our expression signature and the genes identified may improve our understanding of the de-differentiation process of prostate tumors. Additionally, the signature may have clinical applications among men with Gleason 7, by further estimating their risk of lethal prostate cancer and thereby guiding therapy decisions to improve outcomes and reduce overtreatment.
PMCID: PMC3107753  PMID: 21537050
6.  Homogeneous Prostate Cancer Mortality in the Nordic Countries Over Four Decades 
European urology  2010;58(3):427-432.
Incidence of prostate cancer (PCa) has greatly increased in the Nordic region over the past two decades, following the advent of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening. Consequently, interpreting temporal trends in PCa has become difficult, and the impact of changes in exposure to causal factors is uncertain.
To reveal geographic differences and temporal trends in PCa in the Nordic countries. Because the recorded incidence of PCa has been profoundly influenced by PSA screening, we focused our analyses primarily on PCa mortality.
Design, setting, and participants
We analyzed national PCa incidence and mortality data from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden from 1965 to 2006 using the PC-NORDCAN software program and the online NORDCAN database.
Cumulative incidence and cumulative mortality from PCa were calculated for selected calendar years during four decades, along with age-standardized mortality rates. Incidence data in NORDCAN come from individual countries’ cancer registries, and mortality data come from national mortality registries.
Results and limitations
From 1965 to 2006, 172 613 deaths from PCa were reported in the four Nordic countries. A substantial rise in incidence was observed across the region, with some geographic variation, since the late 1980s. In contrast, both disease-specific mortality rates and cumulative risk of PCa mortality lacked consistent temporal trends over the same period. Cumulative risk of PCa mortality ranged between 3.5% and 7.5% in the region over four decades, whereas cumulative incidence jumped from about 9% to >20%. Mortality has remained fairly constant among the countries, with a minimally lower risk in Finland.
Unlike most malignancies, the occurrence of lethal PCa showed minimal geographic variation and lacked consistent temporal trends over four decades. These findings may guide our search for important causes of PCa, a malignancy with etiology that is still largely unknown.
PMCID: PMC2936655  PMID: 20541313
Cancer trends; Mortality; Nordic region; Prostate cancer
7.  Estrogen-dependent signaling in a molecularly distinct subclass of aggressive prostate cancer 
The majority of prostate cancers harbor gene fusions of the 5′-untranslated region of the androgen-regulated transmembrane protease, serine 2 (TMPRSS2) promoter with erythroblast transformation specific (ETS) transcription factor family members. The common v-ets erythroblastosis virus E26 oncogene homolog [avian] (TMPRSS2–ERG) fusion is associated with a more aggressive clinical phenotype, implying the existence of a distinct subclass of prostate cancer defined by this fusion.
We used cDNA-mediated annealing, selection, ligation, and extension to determine the expression profiles of 6144 transcriptionally informative genes in archived biopsy samples from 455 prostate cancer patients in the Swedish Watchful Waiting cohort (1987–1999) and the US-based Physicians Health Study cohort (1983–2003). A gene expression signature for prostate cancers with the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion was determined using partitioning and classification models and used in computational functional analysis. Cell proliferation and TMPRSS2-ERG expression in androgen receptor–negative (NCI-H660) and –positive (VCaP-ERβ) prostate cancer cells after treatment with vehicle or estrogenic compounds were assessed by viability assays and quantitative polymerase chain reaction, respectively. All statistical tests were two-sided.
We identified an 87-gene expression signature that distinguishes TMPRSS2-ERG fusion prostate cancer as a discrete molecular entity (area under the curve = 0.80, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.792 to 0.81; P<.001). Computational analysis suggested that this fusion signature was associated with estrogen receptor (ER) signaling. Viability of NCI-H660 cells decreased after treatment with estrogen (viability normalized to day 0, estrogen vs vehicle at day 8, mean = 2.04 vs 3.40, difference = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.12 to 1.62) or ERβ agonist (ERβ agonist vs vehicle at day 8, mean = 1.86 vs 3.40, difference = 1.54, 95% CI = 1.39 to 1.69) but increased after ERα agonist treatment (ERα agonist vs vehicle at day 8, mean = 4.36 vs 3.40, difference = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.68 to 1.23). Similarly, expression of TMPRSS2-ERG decreased after ERβ agonist treatment (fold change over internal control, ERβ agonist vs vehicle at 24 hours, NCI H660, mean = 0.57-fold vs 1.0-fold, difference = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.29-fold to 0.57-fold) and increased after ERα agonist treatment (ERα agonist vs vehicle at 24 hours, mean = 5.63-fold vs 1.0-fold, difference = 4.63-fold, 95% CI = 4.34-fold to 4.92-fold).
TMPRSS2-ERG fusion prostate cancer is a distinct molecular subclass. TMPRSS2-ERG expression is regulated by a novel ER-dependent mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3073404  PMID: 18505969
8.  Molecular sampling of prostate cancer: a dilemma for predicting disease progression 
Current prostate cancer prognostic models are based on pre-treatment prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, biopsy Gleason score, and clinical staging but in practice are inadequate to accurately predict disease progression. Hence, we sought to develop a molecular panel for prostate cancer progression by reasoning that molecular profiles might further improve current clinical models.
We analyzed a Swedish Watchful Waiting cohort with up to 30 years of clinical follow up using a novel method for gene expression profiling. This cDNA-mediated annealing, selection, ligation, and extension (DASL) method enabled the use of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded transurethral resection of prostate (TURP) samples taken at the time of the initial diagnosis. We determined the expression profiles of 6100 genes for 281 men divided in two extreme groups: men who died of prostate cancer and men who survived more than 10 years without metastases (lethals and indolents, respectively). Several statistical and machine learning models using clinical and molecular features were evaluated for their ability to distinguish lethal from indolent cases.
Surprisingly, none of the predictive models using molecular profiles significantly improved over models using clinical variables only. Additional computational analysis confirmed that molecular heterogeneity within both the lethal and indolent classes is widespread in prostate cancer as compared to other types of tumors.
The determination of the molecularly dominant tumor nodule may be limited by sampling at time of initial diagnosis, may not be present at time of initial diagnosis, or may occur as the disease progresses making the development of molecular biomarkers for prostate cancer progression challenging.
PMCID: PMC2855514  PMID: 20233430
9.  Immediate Risk for Cardiovascular Events and Suicide Following a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis: Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(12):e1000197.
Katja Fall and Fang Fang and colleagues find that men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer are at increased risk of cardiovascular events and suicide.
Stressful life events have been shown to be associated with altered risk of various health consequences. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the emotional stress evoked by a prostate cancer diagnosis increases the immediate risks of cardiovascular events and suicide.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a prospective cohort study by following all men in Sweden who were 30 y or older (n = 4,305,358) for a diagnosis of prostate cancer (n = 168,584) and their subsequent occurrence of cardiovascular events and suicide between January 1, 1961 and December 31, 2004. We used Poisson regression models to calculate relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of cardiovascular events and suicide among men who had prostate cancer diagnosed within 1 y to men without any cancer diagnosis. The risks of cardiovascular events and suicide were elevated during the first year after prostate cancer diagnosis, particularly during the first week. Before 1987, the RR of fatal cardiovascular events was 11.2 (95% CI 10.4–12.1) during the first week and 1.9 (95% CI 1.9–2.0) during the first year after diagnosis. From 1987, the RR for cardiovascular events, nonfatal and fatal combined, was 2.8 (95% CI 2.5–3.2) during the first week and 1.3 (95% CI 1.3–1.3) during the first year after diagnosis. While the RR of cardiovascular events declined, the RR of suicide was stable over the entire study period: 8.4 (95% CI 1.9–22.7) during the first week and 2.6 (95% CI 2.1–3.0) during the first year after diagnosis. Men 54 y or younger at cancer diagnosis demonstrated the highest RRs of both cardiovascular events and suicide. A limitation of the present study is the lack of tumor stage data, which precluded possibilities of investigating the potential impact of the disease severity on the relationship between a recent diagnosis of prostate cancer and the risks of cardiovascular events and suicide. In addition, we cannot exclude residual confounding as a possible explanation.
Men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer are at increased risks for cardiovascular events and suicide. Future studies with detailed disease characteristic data are warranted.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Prostate cancer—a type of tumor that develops in a walnut-sized structure in the male reproductive system—is the commonest cancer (excluding skin cancer) among men in developed countries. In the USA and the UK, for example, one in six men will develop prostate cancer during their lifetime. Most prostate cancers develop in elderly men and, because these tumors usually grow relatively slowly, many men die with prostate cancer rather than as a result of it. Nevertheless, some prostate cancers are fast-growing and aggressive and prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among men. The symptoms of prostate cancer include problems urinating and excessive urination during the night. Nowadays, however, most prostate cancers are detected before they produce any symptoms by measuring the amount of a protein called the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood.
Why Was This Study Done?
Widespread PSA screening was introduced 20 years ago in the hope that early detection of prostate cancer would save lives. But, although many more prostate cancers are detected nowadays, the number of prostate cancer deaths has not changed significantly. Experts are divided, therefore, about whether the potential benefits of PSA screening outweigh its risks. Treatments for prostate cancer (for example, surgical removal of the prostate) may be more effective if they are started early but they can cause impotence and urinary incontinence, so should men be treated whose cancer might otherwise never affect their health? In addition, receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer is stressful and there is growing evidence that stressful life events can increase an individual's risk of becoming ill or dying from a heart attack, stroke, or other “cardiovascular” events and of becoming mentally ill. In this study, therefore, the researchers investigate whether men diagnosed with prostate cancer in Sweden have increased risks of cardiovascular events and suicide during the first week and first year after their diagnosis.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified nearly 170, 000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1961 and 2004 among Swedish men aged 30 years or older by searching the Swedish Cancer Register. They obtained information on subsequent fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events and suicides from the Causes of Death Register and the Inpatient Register (in Sweden, everyone has a unique national registration number that facilitates searches of different health-related Registers). Before 1987, men with prostate cancer were about 11 times as likely to have a fatal cardiovascular event during the first week after their diagnosis as men without prostate cancer; during the first year after their diagnosis, men with prostate cancer were nearly twice as likely to have a cardiovascular event as men without prostate cancer (a relative risk of 1.9). From 1987, the relative risk of combined fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events associated with a diagnosis of prostate cancer was 2.8 during the first week and 1.3 during the first year after diagnosis. The relative risk of suicide associated with a diagnosis of prostate cancer was 8.4 during the first week and 2.6 during the first year after diagnosis throughout the study period. Finally, men younger than 54 years at diagnosis had higher relative risks of both cardiovascular events and suicide.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer have an increased risk of cardiovascular events and suicide. Because there is no information on tumor size or aggressiveness in the Cancer Register, the researchers could not look at the relationship between disease severity and the likelihood of a cardiovascular event or suicide. Furthermore, because of the study design, men who received a diagnosis of prostate cancer may have had additional characteristics in common that contributed to their increased risk of cardiovascular events and suicide. Nevertheless, these findings strongly suggest that the stress of the diagnosis itself rather than any subsequent treatment has deleterious effects on the health of men receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer. Thus, strategies should be developed to reduce the risks of cardiovascular events and suicide—increased clinical and psychological monitoring—after a diagnosis of prostate cancer, particularly among young men, and this new information should be considered in the ongoing debate about the risks and benefits of PSA screening.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Cancer Institute provides information on all aspects of prostate cancer, (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on prostate cancer, including Prostate Cancer Screening, A Decision Guide (some information in multiple languages)
The UK National Health Service Choices Web site provides detailed information on prostate cancer
The UK-based Samaritans charity provides confidential nonjudgmental emotional support, 24 hours a day, for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide
Outside the UK, Befrienders provides information on help lines for those experiencing distress
PMCID: PMC2784954  PMID: 20016838
10.  Radical Prostatectomy Versus Watchful Waiting in Localized Prostate Cancer: the Scandinavian Prostate Cancer Group-4 Randomized Trial 
The benefit of radical prostatectomy in patients with early prostate cancer has been assessed in only one randomized trial. In 2005, we reported that radical prostatectomy improved prostate cancer survival compared with watchful waiting after a median of 8.2 years of follow-up. We now report results after 3 more years of follow-up.
From October 1, 1989, through February 28, 1999, 695 men with clinically localized prostate cancer were randomly assigned to radical prostatectomy (n = 347) or watchful waiting (n = 348). Follow-up was complete through December 31, 2006, with histopathologic review and blinded evaluation of causes of death. Relative risks (RRs) were estimated using the Cox proportional hazards model. Statistical tests were two-sided.
During a median of 10.8 years of follow-up (range = 3 weeks to 17.2 years), 137 men in the surgery group and 156 in the watchful waiting group died (P = .09). For 47 of the 347 men (13.5%) who were randomly assigned to surgery and 68 of the 348 men (19.5%) who were not, death was due to prostate cancer. The difference in cumulative incidence of death due to prostate cancer remained stable after about 10 years of follow-up. At 12 years, 12.5% of the surgery group and 17.9% of the watchful waiting group had died of prostate cancer (difference = 5.4%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.2 to 11.1%), for a relative risk of 0.65 (95% CI = 0.45 to 0.94; P = .03). The difference in cumulative incidence of distant metastases did not increase beyond 10 years of follow-up. At 12 years, 19.3% of men in the surgery group and 26% of men in the watchful waiting group had been diagnosed with distant metastases (difference = 6.7%, 95% CI = 0.2 to 13.2%), for a relative risk of 0.65 (95% CI = 0.47 to 0.88; P = .006). Among men who underwent radical prostatectomy, those with extracapsular tumor growth had 14 times the risk of prostate cancer death as those without it (RR = 14.2, 95% CI = 3.3 to 61.8; P < .001).
Radical prostatectomy reduces prostate cancer mortality and risk of metastases with little or no further increase in benefit 10 or more years after surgery.
PMCID: PMC2518167  PMID: 18695132
11.  Testing a Multigene Signature of Prostate Cancer Death in the Swedish Watchful Waiting Cohort 
While prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer death, most men die with and not from their disease, underscoring the urgency to distinguish potentially lethal from indolent prostate cancer. We tested the prognostic value of a previously identified multigene signature of prostate cancer progression to predict cancer-specific death. The Örebro Watchful Waiting Cohort included 172 men with localized prostate cancer of whom 40 died of prostate cancer. We quantified protein expression of the markers in tumor tissue by immunohistochemistry, and stratified the cohort by quintiles according to risk classification. We accounted for clinical parameters (age, Gleason, nuclear grade, tumor volume) using Cox regression, and calculated Receiver Operator Curves to compare discriminatory ability. The hazard ratio of prostate cancer death increased with increasing risk classification by the multigene model, with a 16-fold greater risk comparing highest versus lowest risk strata, and predicted outcome independent of clinical factors (p=0.002). The best discrimination came from combining information from the multigene markers and clinical data, which perfectly classified the lowest risk stratum where no one developed lethal disease; using the two lowest risk groups as referent, the hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) was 11.3 (4.0–32.8) for the highest risk group and difference in mortality at 15 years was 60% (50–70%). The combined model provided greater discriminatory ability (AUC 0.78) than the clinical model alone (AUC 0.71), p=0.04. Molecular tumor markers can add to clinical parameters to help distinguish lethal and indolent prostate cancer, and hold promise to guide treatment decisions.
PMCID: PMC2536630  PMID: 18583469

Results 1-11 (11)