Standard clinical parameters fail to accurately differentiate indolent from aggressive prostate cancer. Our previous studies showed that immunohistochemical testing for Ki-67 improved prediction of prostate cancer death in a previous cohort of conservatively treated clinically localized prostate cancer. However there is a need for validation of usage with whole biopsy sections rather than tissue micro-arrays for use in routine diagnostics. Prostate cancer biopsy cases were identified in the UK, between 1990 and 2003, treated conservatively. Tumor extent and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) serum measurements were available. Biopsy cases were centrally reviewed by three uropathologists and Gleason conformed to contemporary ISUP 2014 criteria. Follow-up was through cancer registries up until 2012. Deaths were divided into those from prostate cancer and those from other causes. The percentage of Ki-67 in tumor cells was evaluated by immunohistochemistry on whole biopsy sections and was available for 756 patients. This percentage was used in analysis of cancer specific survival using a Cox proportional hazards model. In univariate analysis, the interquartile hazard ratio (HR) (95% confidence intervals) for continuous Ki-67 was 1.68 (1.49, 1.89), χ12 = 47.975, P < 0.001. In grade groups 1 and 2, continuous Ki-67 was a statistically significant predictor of time to death from prostate cancer, HR (95% CI) = 1.97 (1.34, 2.88), χ12 = 9.017, p = 0.003. In multivariate analysis, continuous Ki-67 added significant predictive information to that provided by grade groups, extent of disease and serum PSA, HR (95% CI) = 1.34 (1.16, 1.54), Δχ12 = 13.703, P < 0.001. We now advocate the introduction of Ki-67 as a viable and practicable prognostic biomarker in clinical practice. The association of Ki-67 with mortality was highest in grade groups 1 and 2, showing that Ki-67 can be used as a routine biomarker in patients being considered for active surveillance.
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We gratefully acknowledge the support from Cancer Research UK, ORCHID, a SPORE grant from the US National Cancer Institute (P50CA09629), the David H. Koch Fund and Myriad Genetics. We thank investigators and staff in the cancer registries and participating hospitals for their support.