Recent years have brought many changes in the management of localized prostate cancer as national screening guidelines have been updated and diagnostic practice patterns evolved. We sought to better understand how the changing landscape influenced treatment utilization in the United States.

We used the SEER database in this retrospective analysis of patients with clinically localized prostate cancer between 2004 and 2013. We evaluated utilization of primary treatment modalities over time with descriptive and trend analyses, and examined treatment utilization by cancer risk group and age at diagnosis.

Of 398 074 patients in the analytic data set, 38% elected radiation therapy, 38% underwent radical prostatectomy, and 24% opted for expectant management. While in 2004 radiation treatment was almost twice as common as expectant management (42% vs 23%), by 2013 approximately equal percentages of patients were treated with each of the three modalities. Expectant management use increased over time, while the proportion of patients opting for surgery decreased remarkably with increasing age at diagnosis in intermediate- and higher-risk disease. Among radiotherapy options, brachytherapy was most common among lower-risk patients in 2004 but substantially decreased over time (P < 0.001).

Management of localized prostate cancer changed substantially over time in the United States. Utilization of expectant management has increased for men with low- and intermediate risk cancer. Among those who pursue curative therapy, younger men remain more likely to elect surgery whereas older men tend to choose radiotherapy. Further studies are needed to better characterize factors contributing to treatment selection.

The Prostate. 2018 Mar 14 [Epub]

Junchao Chen, Clara Oromendia, Joshua A Halpern, Karla V Ballman

Center for Drug Clinical Research, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China., Department of Healthcare Policy and Research, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, New York., Department of Urology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, New York.