Prostate cancer is a leading cause of death among men worldwide. Since this form of cancer is usually slow growing, a watchful waiting approach is often adopted when the cancer is caught early. This involves regular monitoring of the cancer to check whether it has remained confined to the prostate or has spread beyond it.
Partin tables are tools that can be used to monitor the different clinical parameters that predict the growth and spread of prostate cancer. The first Partin tables were developed in 1993 by Alan Partin and colleagues based on their studies of the course of prostate cancer in hundreds of nerve-sparing radical prostatectomies.
The tables can be used to estimate the potential pathological state of prostate cancer based on the following factors:
- Gleason score
- Blood levels of PSA (prostate-specific antigen)
- Clinical stage or extent of cancer
These Partin tables help the urologist talk with and counsel prostate cancer patients in order to help them decide on the best treatment option for their illness. Discussions with the patient are guided by factors established using the tables such as the extent of the cancer and the predicted patient outcomes for the different therapies available such as surgery, radiation, hormonal therapy or targeted therapy.
The first edition of the Partin tables did not include the Gleason score and was based only on PSA and TNM (tumor, node, metastases) staging of the cancer. The most recent Partin tables are based on data available from over 5,000 patients treated between 2006 and 2011 and use clinical stage, PSA levels and Gleason score to predict the degree of cancer progression at the time of radical prostatectomy.