Objective: To provide physicians with a review of diagnosis, screening, staging evaluation, treatment options, prognosis, psychosocial issues, economic considerations, and future research directions in the management of patients with all stages of prostate cancer.
Data Sources: A MEDLINE search of articles relating to the diagnosis, staging, screening, surgery, radiation therapy, medical management, and research in prostate cancer. Emphasis on information reported from government- and nongovernment-sponsored large cooperative trials, consensus development conferences, and proceedings of prostate cancer organ site workshops.
Study Selection: Results of randomized treatment trials and consensus summary statements are reported where long-term results (> 5 years follow-up) are available for localized prostate cancer treatment and where survival outcomes are available for metastatic disease treatment.
Data Synthesis: Both qualitative and quantitative data are reported. Information on staging, management, and prognosis of localized prostate cancer is based on studies that are predominantly nonrandomized, include heterogeneous patient groups, and often use differing outcome measures. Information on management of metastatic prostate cancer is more quantitative and includes side effects of treatment and survival results obtained from randomized, prospective, multi-institutional studies.
Conclusions: Despite the increase in prostate cancer incidence and detection, substantial controversy still exists about the advisability and effectiveness of screening programs, the most appropriate staging evaluation, and the optimal management of patients with all stages of prostate cancer. Although randomized, prospective studies attempt to address some of these issues, physicians must appreciate inherent ambiguities involved in recommending staging and treatment choices.