Are serial bone scans useful for the follow-up of clinically localized, low to intermediate grade prostate cancer managed with watchful observation alone?
Article first published online: 16 APR 2003
Volume 91, Issue 7, pages 613–617, May 2003
How to Cite
Yap, B.K., Choo, R., Deboer, G., Klotz, L., Danjoux, C. and Morton, G. (2003), Are serial bone scans useful for the follow-up of clinically localized, low to intermediate grade prostate cancer managed with watchful observation alone?. BJU International, 91: 613–617. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-410X.2003.04169.x
- Issue published online: 16 APR 2003
- Article first published online: 16 APR 2003
- Accepted for publication 21 January 2003
- prostate cancer;
- serial bone scan;
- watchful observation;
To assess the predictive value of serial bone scans as a surveillance tool for bone metastasis in men with clinically localized prostate cancer and managed with watchful observation.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
A prospective single-arm study was conducted to assess the feasibility of a watchful observation protocol with selective delayed intervention for patients with clinically localized prostate cancer, i.e. T1b-T2bN0M0, a Gleason score of ≤ 7 and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level of ≤ 15 ng/mL. Patients were managed expectantly as long as they did not meet the empirically predefined criteria of clinical, histological or PSA progression. Bone scintigraphy was repeated every year for the first 2 years, then every 2 years thereafter if the patient remained on watchful observation. When the follow-up PSA level was> 15 ng/mL the patient underwent bone scintigraphy every year.
In all, 244 eligible patients were enrolled into the study. With a median follow-up of 30 months, 449 bone scans were taken (150 at baseline and 299 in follow-up evaluations); all 299 follow-up scans were negative for bone metastasis. Hence, the true rate of positive follow-up bone scans was estimated to be 0–1.0% (95% confidence). In all, 171 patients had at least one follow-up bone scan; of these, the number (%) of patients who had 1, 2, 3, 4 and ≥ 5 follow-up scans was 89 (52), 53 (31), 17 (10), eight (4.7) and four (2.3), respectively. The PSA levels (ng/mL) corresponding to all follow-up bone scans were: 214 scans at PSA < 10, 61 at 10–14.9, 18 at 15–19.9 and six at ≥ 20 (range 20.2–24.9). The probability of a negative bone scan was estimated to be 88–100% (95% confidence interval) when a PSA threshold of 15 ng/mL was used.
The probability of positive findings in serial bone scans in untreated, localized, low to intermediate grade prostate cancer was low when the follow-up PSA level remained < 15 ng/mL. Avoiding bone scans in this group of patients would translate into a significant cost saving and reduction in their psychological and physical burden. As for those with a follow-up PSA of> 15 ng/mL, the role of serial bone scintigraphy remains undefined, as a longer follow-up and a larger sample are needed.