Purpose: The aim of this study was to report on the safety (complications) and efficacy (oncological and functional outcomes) of robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP), performed at our institution, in patients aged over 70.
Patients and methods: Review of our prospectively collected database [Cancer Information Systems (CAISIS)] identified two hundred and fifteen (215) patients, aged > 70, who underwent RARP for localized prostate cancer between July 2003 and August 2017. A propensity score-matched analysis, with multiple covariates, was performed to stratify the patients into Age ≤ 70 and Age > 70 comparison groups.
Results: Apart from Age (mean ± SD years: 73.5 ± 2.1 vs 59.5 ± 5.9, p < 0.0001) and nerve-sparing status, the two groups were evenly matched for all covariates (p values > 0.05). Median follow-up was 10.6 years. There were no 90-day mortalities in either group. Minor complications (Clavien ≤ 2) were more common in the Age > 70 group (p = 0.0002). Operating room time (p = 0.83), length of hospital stay (p = 0.06) and catheterization duration (p = 0.13) were similar. On final pathology, a higher pT stage (p < 0.0001) and pN1 (p = 0.003) were observed in the Age > 70 group. However, this did not translate adversely into higher rates of positive surgical margin (p = 0.41) or biochemical relapse (p = 0.72). Allowing for the follow-up duration (median 10.6 years), cancer-specific survival was marginally significant (p = 0.05) with an observed lower rate in the Age > 70 group. In terms of functional outcomes, post-operative erectile dysfunction and pad-free continence were significantly better in the younger cohort (p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Robot-assisted radical prostatectomy should not be denied to those over 70 years solely on the basis of age. Older men need to be counseled about the likelihood of encountering higher-risk features on final pathology and that their functional outcomes may be worse compared to a younger person.
Keywords: Elderly; Outcomes; Prostate cancer; Radical prostatectomy; Robotic surgery.