Identifying Patients in Whom the Follow-Up Scheme after Robot-Assisted Radical Prostatectomy Could Be Optimized in the First Year after Surgery: Reducing Healthcare Burden

Hans Veerman*, Sophia H. van der Graaf, Dennie Meijer, Marinus J. Hagens, Corinne N. Tillier, Pim J. van Leeuwen, Henk G. van der Poel, André N. Vis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The currently advised follow-up scheme of PSA testing after robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) is strict and might pose a burden to our healthcare system. We aimed to optimize the 1-year follow-up scheme for patients who undergo RARP. Methods: All patients with histologically-proven prostate cancer (PCa) who underwent RARP between 2018 and August 2022 in the Prostate Cancer Network in the Netherlands were retrospectively evaluated. We excluded patients who underwent salvage RARP and patients who had <1 year of PSA follow-up. Postoperative PSA values were collected. Biochemical persistence (BCP) was defined as PSA level >0.10 ng/mL at 0–4 months after RARP, whereas biochemical recurrence (BCR) was defined as PSA level >0.2 ng/mL at any time point after RARP. We aimed to identify a group of patients who had a very low risk of BCR at different time points after surgery. Results: Of all 1155 patients, BCP was observed in 151 (13%), of whom 79 (6.8%) had PSA ≥ 0.2 ng/mL. BCR further developed in 51 (4.7%) and 37 (3.4%) patients at 5–8 and 9–12 months after RARP, respectively. In 12 patients, BCR was found at 5–8 months after RARP in the absence of BCP. These patients represented 1.2% (12/1004) of the entire group. In other words, 98.8% (992/1004) of patients who had an unmeasurable PSA level at 0–4 months after RARP also had an unmeasurable PSA level 5–8 months after surgery. Limitations are the retrospective design and incomplete follow-up. Conclusions: Patients with an unmeasurable PSA level at 3–4 months after RARP may not need to be retested until 12 months of follow-up, as almost 100% of patients will not have the biochemically recurrent disease at 5–8 months of follow-up. This will reduce PSA testing substantially at the cost of hardly any missed patients with recurrent disease.
Original languageEnglish
Article number727
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023

Cite this