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Overtreatment and Underutilization of Watchful Waiting in Men With Limited Life Expectancy: An Analysis of the Michigan Urological Surgery Improvement Collaborative Registry

      Objective

      To determine rates of watchful waiting (WW) vs treatment in prostate cancer (PCa) and limited life expectancy (LE) and assess determinants of management.

      Materials and Methods

      Patients diagnosed with PCa between 2012 and 2018 with <10 years LE were identified from the Michigan Urologic Surgery Improvement Collaborative registry. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with management choice among NCCN low-risk PCa patients. Data from high-volume practices were analyzed to understand practice variation.

      Results

      Total 2393 patients were included. Overall, WW was performed in 8.1% compared to 23.3%, 25%, 11.2%, and 3.6% who underwent AS, radiation (XRT), prostatectomy (RP), and brachytherapy (BT), respectively. In men with NCCN low-risk disease (n = 358), WW was performed in 15.1%, compared to AS (69.3%), XRT (4.2%), RP (6.7%), and BT (2.5%). There was wide variation in management among practices in low-risk men; WW (6%-35%), AS (44%-81%), and definitive treatment (0%-30%). Older age was associated with less likelihood of undergoing AS vs WW (odds ratio [OR] 0.88, P < .001) or treatment vs WW (OR 0.83, P < .0001). Presence of ≥cT2 disease (OR 8.55, P = .014) and greater number of positive biopsy cores (OR 1.41, P = .014) was associated with greater likelihood of treatment vs WW and Charlson comorbidity score of 1 vs 0 (OR 0.23, P = .043) was associated with less likelihood of treatment vs WW.

      Conclusion

      Wide practice level variation exists in management for patients with low- and favorable-risk PCa and <10-year LE. Utilization of WW is poor, suggesting overtreatment in men who will experience little benefit.
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