U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Date of this Version


Document Type



Urology, Volume 56, Issue 2, August 2000, Pages 295-301; PII S0090-4295(00)00611-7


Objectives. To evaluate the diagnostic findings and treatment options chosen in men aged 70 years and older referred for prostate biopsy.

Methods. Age, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), biopsy pathology, clinical stage, treatment pursued, and treatment outcome were analyzed in 210 men age 70 years and older referred for transrectal ultrasound and prostate biopsies. All patients were followed for a mean of 46.9 months (range 28 to 63).

Results. Cancer was found in 120 (56.8%) of the patients. The cancer detection rate was significantly higher (81.0%) in patients aged 80 years and older than those younger than 80 years. Cancer patients aged 80 years and older had a higher rate of poorly differentiated cancer (64.7%) compared with the 70 to 74-year-olds (33.3%) and 75 to 79-year-olds (32.1%). The patients aged 80 years and older also had a larger proportion of high-stage cancer. The patients younger than 80 years had a significantly higher incidence of stable/falling PSA with treatment compared with the older patients. Of the 210 patients, 41 (19.4%) died within 5 years of the diagnostic procedure; 3 died of prostate cancer. The death rate was not significantly different among the three age groups evaluated. None of the patients aged 80 years and older died of prostate cancer.

Conclusions. Patients aged 80 years and older who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are less likely to respond well to treatment and usually die of unrelated causes. Aggressive diagnosis, staging, and treatment in octogenarians should be guided by the patients’ symptoms, overall health, and personal preferences.