To evaluate urinary continence (UC) recovery and oncological outcomes in different risk-groups after robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RALP) and open retropubic radical prostatectomy (RRP).
We analysed 2650 men with prostate cancer from seven open (n = 805) and seven robotic (n = 1845) Swedish centres between 2008 and 2011 in a prospective non-randomised trial, LAPPRO. UC recovery was defined as change of pads less than once in 24 h. Information was collected through validated questionnaires. Rate of positive surgical margins (PSM) and biochemical recurrence (BCR), defined as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) > 0.25 mg/ml, were recorded. We stratified patients into two risk groups (low-intermediate and high risk) based on the D’Amico risk classification system.
Among men with high-risk prostate cancer, we found significantly higher rates of UC recovery up to 24 months after RRP compared to RALP (66.1% vs 60.5%) RR 0.85 (CI 95% 0.73-0.99) while PSM was more frequent after RRP compared to RALP (46.8% vs 23.5%) RR 1.56 (CI 95% 1.10-2.21). In the same group no significant difference was seen in BCR. Overall, however, BCR was significantly more common after RRP compared to RALP at 24 months (9.8% vs 6.6%) RR 1.43 (Cl 95% 1.08-1.89). The limitations of this study are its non-randomized design and the relatively short time of follow-up.
Our study indicates that men with high-risk tumour operated with open surgery had better urinary continence recovery but with a higher risk of PSM than after robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery. No significant difference was seen in biochemical recurrence.  TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN06393679.