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Volume 11, Pages 1178-1186
Research Article

Comorbidity, Use of Common Medications, and Risk of Early Death in Patients with Localized or Locally Advanced Prostate Cancer

1Department of Oncology and Palliative Medicine, Nordland Hospital, Bodø, Norway
2Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway
3Northern Norway Regional Health Authority, Bodø, Norway

Received 31 March 2011; Revised 31 May 2011; Accepted 6 June 2011

Academic Editor: Scott Eggener

Copyright © 2011 Carsten Nieder et al.


In this paper, we analyze predictive factors for early death from comorbidity (defined as death within 3 years from diagnosis and unrelated to prostate cancer) in patients with localized or locally advanced prostate cancer. Such information may guide individually tailored treatment or observation strategies, and help to avoid overtreatment. We retrospectively analyzed baseline parameters including information on comorbidity and medication use among 177 patients (median age at diagnosis 70 years). Actuarial survival analyses were performed. During the first 3 years, two patients (1.1%) died from progressive prostate cancer after they had developed distant metastases. The risk of dying from other causes (3.4%) was numerically higher, although not to a statistically significant degree. Six patients who died from other causes had age-adjusted Charlson comorbidity index (CCI) scores ≥5 (CCI is a sum score where each comorbid condition is assigned with a score depending on the risk of dying associated with this condition). The main comorbidity was cardiovascular disease. The two statistically significant predictive factors were medication use and age-adjusted CCI score ≥5 (univariate analysis). However, medication use was not an independent factor as all patients with age-adjusted CCI score ≥5 also used at least one class of medication. Median survival was 30 months in patients with age-adjusted CCI score ≥5. Prediction of non-prostate cancer death may be important to prevent overtreatment in patients who are more threatened by comorbidity. Our data suggest that simple parameters such as use of medications vs. none, or presence of serious cardiac disease vs. none, are not sufficient, and that age-adjusted CCI scores outperform the other factors included in our analysis.