Cancer Care Ontario has published an evidence-based guideline on their website “Guideline for Optimization of Surgical and Pathological Quality Performance for Radical Prostatectomy in Prostate Cancer Management: Surgical and Pathological Guidelines.” The evidentiary base for this guideline was recently published in CUAJ. The CCO guideline proposes the following: a positive surgical margin (PSM) rate of <25% for organ-confined disease (pT2), a perioperative mortality of <1%, a rate of rectal injury <1%, and a blood transfusion rate <10% in non-anemic patients. The objective of this study was to review the radical prostatectomy practice at the Grey Bruce Health Services, an Ontario community hospital, and to compare our performance in relation to the Cancer Care Ontario guideline and the literature.
We conducted a retrospective review of all radical prostatectomies performed at the Grey Bruce Health Services from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2007. The following data were obtained from clinical records and pathology reports: patient age, pre-biopsy prostate-specific antigen, biopsy Gleason score, resected prostate gland weight, radical prostatectomy Gleason score, surgical margin status, pathological tumour stage (pT), lymph node dissection status, perioperative incidence of transfusion of blood products and if the patient was anemic (hemoglobin <140 g/L) preoperatively, incidence of rectal injury, and perioperative mortality within 30 days following surgery.
Using the method proposed by D’Amico, most patients undergoing radical prostatectomy were intermediate risk (62%), with a minority of low-risk (24%) and high-risk (14%) patients. The overall PSM rate was 37%. The rate of PSMs in organ-confined disease (pT2) was 26%. There was a statistically significant trend between increasing D’Amico risk category and increasing rate of PSM (Cochran-Armitage trend test, p = 0.023). There was a strong correlation between the pathological tumour stage and the rate of PSM (Cochran-Armitage trend test, p = 0.0003). The rate of blood transfusion in non-anemic patients was 6%. There was 1 patient (0.8%) who experienced a rectal injury. There were no perioperative deaths in our study group.
Our results show that a community hospital group can appropriately select patients to undergo radical prostatectomy, as well as achieve an acceptable rate of PSMs. We believe that ongoing critical appraisal and reflective practice are essential to improving surgical outcomes and providing quality care.