We conducted a review of the literature to identify the clinical benefits of pelvic lymph node dissection (PLND) during radical prostatectomy for clinically localized prostate cancer. The most recent guidelines recommend PLND, particularly extended PLND, during radical prostatectomy for localized prostate cancer. PLND is undoubtedly the most accurate method for nodal staging, and most patients, particularly those with high-risk cancer, are likely to undergo PLND during radical prostatectomy. Although many retrospective studies have assessed oncologic outcomes after PLND, its therapeutic benefit remains controversial. Patients with positive node(s) often have other more common unfavorable prognostic factors, such as seminal vesicle invasion, extra-prostatic extension, and positive surgical margins. Oncologic outcomes in patients who have not undergone PLND and those who have undergone PLND are almost identical. If an effective standard adjuvant therapy after prostatectomy is defined, the nodal status may be important and valuable. However, adjuvant treatment strategies for patients with a positive node have not been identified thus far. Therefore, determining the nodal status at surgery may not provide therapeutic benefit. PLND requires additional surgical time and is associated with several complications. Therefore, the indication for PLND should be considered carefully until well-designed prospective randomized trials establish high-quality clinical evidence.
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