Is it worth to perform salvage radical prostatectomy for radio-recurrent prostate cancer? A literature review

  • Giorgio Calleris
  • Giancarlo MarraEmail author
  • Ettore Dalmasso
  • Marco Falcone
  • Robert Jeffrey Karnes
  • Alessandro Morlacco
  • Marco Oderda
  • Rafael Sanchez-Salas
  • Francesco Soria
  • Paolo Gontero
Topic Paper



Salvage radical prostatectomy (sRP) represents a curative option for prostate cancer (PCa) biochemical recurrence (BCR) after radiation therapy (RT). In this review, we aimed to outline the contemporary results and use of sRP.


A web search was performed on the Ovid platform using Embase and Medline databases from January 2010 using pre-defined search terms. Web search was implemented by manual search. Oncological and functional outcomes and complications were summarized using standard classification systems, when feasible.


sRP is currently underused, being chosen for radio-recurrent PCa treatment in around 1% of the cases. Surgery is complex due to radiation-induced tissue changes making posterior planes and apex dissection particularly challenging. Patient selection is paramount to maximize the oncological benefit. Most series report a BCR-free survival > 60%, mainly at the end of a short- to intermediate-term follow-up. Five-year progression-free survival is nearly 50% and 5-year cancer-specific survival rates are around 90%. Major peri-operative complications, anastomotic leaks and strictures, still more frequent than in a primary RP setting, have been steering towards more acceptable rates in recent years, when compared to historical series. Continence rates are widely variable, often in between 39 and 60%. Potency remains difficult to recover.


sRP represents a curative option with promising short- to medium-term oncological results and acceptable side effects, in high-volume institutions. In appropriately selected patients, the procedure should not be underused due to the fear of poor functional outcomes and/or complications. Prospective studies are needed to assess the long-term outcomes and to further refine patient selection criteria.


Prostate cancer Recurrence Radiotherapy Radical prostatectomy Salvage treatment 


Author contributions

GC, GM: protocol/project development, data collection or management, data analysis; manuscript writing. FS, ED: data collection or management, data analysis, manuscript writing. MO, MF, AM: manuscript writing. RJK: protocol/project development, manuscript review for important intellectual contents. PG: protocol/project development, manuscript editing, manuscript review for important intellectual contents.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declares that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giorgio Calleris
    • 1
  • Giancarlo Marra
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ettore Dalmasso
    • 1
  • Marco Falcone
    • 1
  • Robert Jeffrey Karnes
    • 5
  • Alessandro Morlacco
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marco Oderda
    • 1
  • Rafael Sanchez-Salas
    • 4
  • Francesco Soria
    • 1
  • Paolo Gontero
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Urology, San Giovanni Battista HospitalCittà della Salute e della Scienza and University of TurinTurinItaly
  2. 2.Clinica Urologica, Dipartimento di Scienze chirurgiche, oncologiche e gastroenterologiche, Università degli Studi di PadovaPaduaItaly
  3. 3.Clinical and Experimental Oncology and ImmunologyUniversità degli Studi di PadovaPaduaItaly
  4. 4.Department of UrologyInstitut Mutualiste MontsourisParisFrance
  5. 5.Department of UrologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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