Objectives: To assess the predictive accuracy and the clinical value of a recent nomogram predicting cancer-specific mortality-free survival after surgery in pN1 prostate cancer patients through an external validation. Methods: We evaluated 518 prostate cancer patients treated with radical prostatectomy and pelvic lymph node dissection with evidence of nodal metastases at final pathology, at 10 tertiary centers. External validation was carried out using regression coefficients of the previously published nomogram. The performance characteristics of the model were assessed by quantifying predictive accuracy, according to the area under the curve in the receiver operating characteristic curve and model calibration. Furthermore, we systematically analyzed the specificity, sensitivity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value for each nomogram-derived probability cut-off. Finally, we implemented decision curve analysis, in order to quantify the nomogram's clinical value in routine practice. Results: External validation showed inferior predictive accuracy as referred to in the internal validation (65.8% vs 83.3%, respectively). The discrimination (area under the curve) of the multivariable model was 66.7% (95% CI 60.1-73.0%) by testing with receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. The calibration plot showed an overestimation throughout the range of predicted cancer-specific mortality-free survival rates probabilities. However, in decision curve analysis, the nomogram's use showed a net benefit when compared with the scenarios of treating all patients or none. Conclusions: In an external setting, the nomogram showed inferior predictive accuracy and suboptimal calibration characteristics as compared to that reported in the original population. However, decision curve analysis showed a clinical net benefit, suggesting a clinical implication to correctly manage pN1 prostate cancer patients after surgery.
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