<< Back to Landmark Studies Home

The contents of this section were published in 2003 as part of SEER's 30th Anniversary celebration.

The Prostate Cancer Outcomes Study (PCOS) was initiated in 1994 by researchers at the NCI to investigate how prostate cancer and its treatments affect the quality of life of men with the disease. SEER cancer registries in six geographic regions—Connecticut, Utah, New Mexico, and the metropolitan areas of Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Seattle—collaborated in this study. The study’s participants were approximately 3,500 men who had been diagnosed with primary invasive prostate cancer between October 1994 and October 1995. The group was large, community-based, and included a substantial number of minority and younger men who had been treated in a variety of settings.

PCOS investigators sent questionnaires to participants to obtain information about their urinary, sexual, and bowel functions, plus other quality-of-life issues. Any information on diagnosis or treatment the investigators needed that was not collected by SEER was abstracted from the men’s medical records.

Clinicians and scientists are debating which combinations of treatments (chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, hormonal therapy, and watchful waiting) for clinically localized prostate cancer offer the best chance for long-term survival with the least amount of side effects, particularly long-term urinary and sexual impairments. To help men make more informed choices about treatments that are best for their own situation, PCOS has reported detailed information in numerous research articles about how prostate cancer is treated in this country and the various effects of these treatments on men’s functioning and overall quality of life. Results from PCOS also have been used to assess racial differences in stage at diagnosis and treatment to help explain the significantly higher mortality rates from prostate cancer among black men in the United States.

Selected References

Potosky AL, Harlan LC, Stanford JL, Gilliland FD, Hamilton AS, Albertsen PC, Eley JW, Liff JM, Deapen D, Stephenson RA, Legler J, Ferrans CE, Talcott JA, Litwin MS. Prostate cancer practice patterns and quality of life: the Prostate Cancer Outcomes Study. J Natl Cancer Inst 1999;91(20):1719-1724.

Stanford JL, Feng Z, Hamilton AS, Gilliland FD, Stephenson RA, Eley JW, Albertsen PC, Harlan LC, Potosky AL. Urinary and sexual function after radical prostatectomy for clinically localized prostate cancer: the Prostate Cancer Outcomes Study. J Am Med Assoc 2000;283(3): 354-360.

Hamilton AS, Stanford JL, Gilliland FD, Albertsen PC, Stephenson RA, Hoffman RM, Eley JW, Harlan LC, Potosky AL. Health outcomes after external beam radiation therapy for clinically localized prostate cancer: results from the Prostate Cancer Outcomes Study. J Clin Oncol 2001;19:2517-2526.

Hoffman RM, Gilliland FD, Eley JW, Harlan LC, Stephenson RA, Stanford JL, Albertson PC, Hamilton AS, Hunt WC, Potosky AL. Racial and ethnic differences in advanced-stage prostate cancer: the Prostate Cancer Outcomes Study. J Natl Cancer Inst 2001;93(5):388-395.

Potosky A, Reeve B, Clegg LX, Hoffman RM, Stephenson RA, Albertsen PC, Gilliland FD, Stanford JL. Quality of life following localized prostate cancer treated initially with androgen deprivation therapy or no therapy. J Natl Cancer Inst 2002;94:430-437.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing information on this page may e-mail for assistance.