Delaying Surgery in Favorable-Risk Prostate Cancer Patients: An NCDB Analysis of Oncologic Outcomes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Clinical genitourinary cancer








Active surveillance; Adverse outcomes; Prostatectomy; Secondary treatment; Survival


INTRODUCTION: Concern for overtreatment in very low-, low-, and favorable intermediate-risk prostate cancer has promoted a more conservative approach through active surveillance (AS) with comparable survival outcomes. We analyzed the National Cancer Database (NCDB) to determine if delaying radical prostatectomy greater than 6 months is associated with an increase in the rate of adverse pathology or secondary treatment (adjuvant or salvage) at radical prostatectomy. METHODS: Utilizing the NCDB from 2004 to 2019, 40 to 75-year-old men with very low-, low-, and favorable-intermediate-risk prostate cancer, as defined by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, were identified for this study. These individuals received radical prostatectomy either before or after 6 months following diagnosis. Clinical, demographic, and pathologic characteristics were obtained. Adverse pathologic outcomes were defined as pT3-4N0-1 and/or positive surgical margins. Multiple logistic regression models were used to predict delays in treatment, adverse pathologic outcomes, and receipt of secondary therapy. Survival analysis was performed using the Cox Proportional Hazards Model and the Kaplan-Meier Method. RESULTS: Of the 195,397 patients who met inclusion criteria, only 13,393 patients received surgery 6 months after diagnosis. The median time of delay was 7.5 months compared to 2.3 months in the immediate treatment group. Overall, delaying surgery had no statistically significant impact on adverse pathologic outcomes, regardless of risk category. However, when accounting for the interaction between race and delayed treatment, non-Hispanic black patients who received a delay in treatment were more likely to experience adverse features (OR 1.12, 95%CI 1.00-1.26, P = .041). Conversely, patients who had delayed surgery were less likely to receive additional therapy (either adjuvant or salvage) (OR 0.60, 95%CI 0.52-0.68, P < .001). Survival analysis showed that both groups fared well, with a 5-year survival of 97% for both groups. The treatment group was not predictive of survival. CONCLUSION: Overall, delaying surgery more than 6 months following diagnosis did not have a significant impact on adverse pathologic features or overall survival. However, when specifically looking at non-Hispanic black patients with a treatment delay, these patients were at increased risk for adverse features, suggesting that the negative impact of treatment delay depends on the patient's race. As race is a social construct, this finding likely points to the complex socioeconomic factors that contribute to overall health outcomes rather than any inherent disease characteristics. Lastly, delayed treatment patients were actually less likely to require secondary therapy, regardless of race, possibly reflecting high clinician acumen in selecting patients appropriate for treatment delay. The results suggest that patients who ultimately "fail" AS and require subsequent surgery have overall comparable survival outcomes. However, pathologic outcomes are dependent on the patient's underlying race, with non-Hispanic black patients experiencing an increased risk of adverse outcomes if treatment is delayed.