Temporal Changes in Demographic and Clinical Characteristics of Men With Prostate Cancer Electing for Conservative Management in the United States

Published:January 13, 2020DOI:


      To characterize the role of clinical and sociodemographic factors in the use of conservative management for localized prostate cancer in the US between 2010 and 2015, and to understand how those factors evolved in light of the recent national increase in conservative management rates.


      Data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program “Prostate with Watchful Waiting Database,” where conservative treatment was delineated by a distinct classifier, was used to evaluate factors associated with electing for conservative management at initial diagnosis (2010-2015). Men aged ≥40 years with cT1-T2a and T2NOS with Gleason score 3 + 3 and 3 + 4 were included (n = 118,415). Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the association between clinical and sociodemographic factors and electing conservative management.


      Between 2010 and 15, a total of 22,099 (18.6%) men were managed conservatively. Mean age of men managed conservatively decreased from 66.6 to 64.6 years, and median prostate-specific antigen (PSA) increased from 5.7 to 6.0 ng/mL, P <.0001. Men with lower income experienced a greater increase in conservative management rates compared to those with high income (152% vs 72% for third and fifth [richest] income quintiles, respectively). On multivariable analysis, Gleason score 3 + 3, older age, lower PSA, more recent year, treatment in the West, and higher levels of county income were significantly associated with conservative management.


      Characteristics of men undergoing conservative management are rapidly changing. Younger men, men with higher PSAs, and men of all incomes are increasingly being managed conservatively. Narrowing of income-based disparities with concurrent broadening of patients considered eligible for surveillance is encouraging.
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