Pathologic stage is the most reliable means of predicting the likelihood of curable prostate cancer at the time of definitive treatment. Its prediction is of the greatest importance to individuals with clinically localized disease, principally because of the therapeutic and prognostic implications. Multivariate models integrating variables that can be derived from clinical and pathologic assessment have been shown to be reliable and useful in urologic practice. Among these variables, the combination of clinical stage, serum PSA, and biopsy Gleason score provides reliable assessment of the risk for extraprostatic disease that can be used readily for counseling individual patients. Other biopsy-derived parameters may contribute additional information, but their value in multivariate analysis has not been validated in a multi-institutional setting. The development of new prognostic markers is a priority objective in current research to distinguish patients in whom cancer cannot be controlled by surgical treatment. For patients undergoing radical prostatectomy, definitive pathologic stage certainly will remain an important prognostic factor; therefore, clinical practice will continue to be determined by its accurate prediction.
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