Nerve sparing surgery – impact on cancer outcome

In a study just published by the British Journal of Urology International, the association between nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy and the risk of increased margins – that is, edges of the removed tumour that show cancer cells – is assessed. Looking at a large cohort of patients who underwent nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy, Dr Moore – a Masters student of Dr Stricker – undertook the study in association with the St Vincent’s Prostate Cancer Centre and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

Examining whether nerve-sparing surgery contributes to the presence of positive cancer cells at the edges of the removed tumour, data from 945 consecutive patients treated with radical prostatectomy was reviewed. Having undergone surgery between 2002 and 2007, all patients were treated by Dr Stricker.

Dr Stricker explains, ‘This is the first paper to show how in my hands the nerves can be spared without compromising the cancer outcome.’

The decision as to whether or not to perform nerve-sparing surgery was based on a number of factors including age, clinical stage, biopsy characteristics, PSA levels, potency status and MRI findings.

The study adds to previous research conducted by several single experienced surgeons and multi-centre examinations that have found no association between nerve-sparing surgery and a positive surgical margin.

The impact of nerve sparing on incidence and location of positive surgical margins in radical prostatectomy is the title of the recently published.