Prostate cancer changes in clinical presentation and treatments in two decades: an Italian population-based study

Annalisa Trama, Laura Botta, Nicola Nicolai, Paolo Giorgi Rossi, Paolo Contiero, Mario Fusco, Michele Lodde, Fabio Pannozzo, Silvano Piffer, Antonella Puppo, Andreas Seeber, Rosario Tumino, Riccardo Valdagni, Gemma Gatta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction The incidence of prostate cancer is on the rise in many industrialised countries, including Italy, most likely because of the spread of PSA testing. In Italy, prostate cancer mortality has been dropping since 2000, but it is difficult to understand whether PSA testing is the main reason, considering the role of treatment in prognosis. The objectives of this study were: (1) to describe Italian trends of prostate cancer risk categories and corresponding changes in treatment patterns and (2) to interpret changes in survival over time. Methods We made a retrospective observational study using population-based cancer registries. We examined two periods, 1996–1999 and 2005–2007, analysing the distribution of patients among risk groups and treatment changes in those intervals. We estimated 7- and 15-year relative survival with the cohort approach, Ederer II method. We analysed 4635 cases. Results There was downward risk migration from the first to the second period. In patients younger than 75 years, there was an increase in radical prostatectomy but not radiotherapy; patients older than 75 years rarely had treatment with radical intent. We noted an improvement of prostate cancer survival in the high-risk group. Conclusion These findings raise several questions: the possible overtreatment of low-risk patients undergoing radical treatment; the utility of more aggressive treatment for elderly patients with high-risk disease; and the importance of a multidisciplinary clinical approach to ensure multiple and alternative treatment options. The increase in survival, with the decrease in mortality, suggests an effect of radical treatments on prognosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Clinical presentation
  • Population-based cancer registries
  • Prostate cancer
  • Survival
  • Treatments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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