BackgroundAccurate grading at the time of diagnosis if fundamental to risk stratification and treatment decision making in patients with prostate cancer. Whilst previous studies have demonstrated significant pathological upgrading and downgrading following radical prostatectomy (RP), these were based on historical cohorts and do not reflect contemporary patient selection and management practices. The aim of this national, multicentre observational study was to characterise contemporary rates and risk factors for pathological upgrading after RP in the United Kingdom (UK).MethodsAll RP entries on the British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS) Radical Prostatectomy Registry database of prospectively entered cases undertaken between January 2011 and December 2016 were extracted. Those patients with full preoperative PSA, clinical stage, needle biopsy and subsequent RP pathological grade information were included. Upgrade was defined as any increase in Gleason grade from initial needle biopsy to pathological assessment of the entire surgical specimen. Statistical analysis and multivariate logistic regression were undertaken using R version 3.5 (R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria).ResultsA total of 17,598 patients met full inclusion criteria. Absolute concordance between initial biopsy and pathological grade was 58.9% (n = 10,364), whilst upgrade and downgrade rates were 25.5% (n = 4489) and 15.6% (n = 2745) respectively. Upgrade rate was highest in those with D’Amico low risk compared with intermediate and high-risk disease (55.7% versus 19.1 and 24.3% respectively, P < 0.001). Although rates varied between year of surgery and geographical regions, these differences were not significant after adjusting for other preoperative diagnostic variables using multivariate logistic regression.ConclusionsPathological upgrading after RP in the UK is lower than expected when compared with other large contemporary series, despite operating on a generally higher risk patient cohort. As new diagnostic techniques that may reduce rates of pathological upgrading become more widely utilised, this study provides an important benchmark against which to measure future performance.