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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

A retrospective analysis of the prognosis of prostate cancer patients with lymph node involvement on MR lymphography: who might be cured

Hanneke JM Meijer1*, Oscar A Debats2, Emile NJTh van Lin1, Johannes Alfred Witjes3, Johannes HAM Kaanders1 and Jelle O Barentsz2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Radiation Oncology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands

2 Department of Radiology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands

3 Department of Urology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, P.O. Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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Radiation Oncology 2013, 8:190  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-8-190

Published: 30 July 2013

Abstract

Background

The prognosis of prostate cancer patients with lymph node metastases so small they can only be visualized by new imaging techniques as MR lymphography (MRL) is unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the prognosis of prostate cancer patients with non-enlarged metastatic lymph nodes on MRL and to identify a subgroup of MRL-positive patients who might be candidates for curative treatment.

Methods

The charts of 138 prostate cancer patients without enlarged lymph nodes on CT, in whom a pre-treatment MRL was performed were reviewed. Endpoints were distant metastases-free survival and overall survival. Relation between the following factors and outcome were investigated: T-stage, PSA value at diagnosis, Gleason score, diameter (short axis and long axis) of the largest MRL-positive lymph node, number of MRL-positive lymph nodes, the presence of extra-pelvic nodal disease, and the extent of resection of the positive lymph nodes. Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed to estimate the survival functions.

Results

Of the 138 patients, 24 (17%) had a positive MRL. Patients with a short axis of the largest positive lymph node of ≤8 mm had a significantly better 5-year distant metastases-free (79% vs 16%) and overall survival (81% vs 36%) than patients with larger positive lymph nodes. This also accounted for patients with a largest long axis of ≤10 mm (71% vs 20% and 73% vs 40%, respectively). Outcome was also better in patients in whom all positive lymph nodes had been resected.

Conclusion

A selection of MRL-positive patients with a good prognosis could be identified, consisting of patients with small positive lymph nodes. In these patients, cure might be pursued.

Keywords:
Prostate cancer; Lymphotrophic superparamagnetic nanoparticles; Magnetic resonance imaging; Lymph node metastases; Radiotherapy