OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the influence of isolated, histologically identified capsular incision (CI) (exposure of benign or malignant glands to the inked surgical margin in the setting of organ-confined disease) on disease progression after anatomic radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP) for clinically localized prostate cancer. METHODS: Between March 1993 and September 1999, 4747 men underwent RRP at the Johns Hopkins Hospital; 107 men (2.3%) were diagnosed with CI in otherwise organ-confined disease; 92 (86%) had at least 6 months (mean 30) of follow-up. We matched these CI cases (based on surgeon, age, clinical stage, final pathologic Gleason grade, and preoperative serum prostate-specific antigen level) one-for-one with controls in three additional pathologically defined groups and compared the freedom from disease progression (prostate-specific antigen level greater than 0.2 ng/mL and/or local palpable recurrence) after RRP. RESULTS: The actuarial 3-year likelihood of freedom from disease progression was 87.8% for the CI group, 96.4% for men with organ-confined disease (P = 0.10), 91.3% for men with extraprostatic extension and negative surgical margins (P = 0.99), and 73.9% for men with positive surgical margins resulting from extraprostatic extension (P <0.01). No statistically significant difference was found in the actuarial likelihood of freedom from disease progression between men with CI into benign glands (n = 22) and men with CI into tumor (n = 70) (P = 0.93). CONCLUSIONS: No statistically significant difference was found in the likelihood of early recurrence between patients with isolated CI and other specimen-confined disease. Patients with isolated CI have a significantly lower likelihood of early recurrence than patients with positive surgical margins due to extraprostatic extension, regardless of whether the CI is into benign glands or tumor. Long-term follow-up is necessary to confirm these findings.
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