OBJECTIVE: To assess whether there is a difference in the biochemical recurrence rate in patients who had radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP) with or without cell salvage transfusion. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The records of 769 consecutive patients undergoing RRP between 1992 and 1998 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients having adjuvant hormonal treatment, postoperative external beam radiotherapy, or a follow-up of < 1 year were excluded from the analysis. The remaining 408 patients were categorized into three groups: 87 who received cell-salvaged blood using a commercial cell saver; 264 receiving only autologous transfusion; and 57 with no transfusion. Disease recurrence was defined as a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level of >0.2 ng/mL. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to assess and compare the risk of cancer recurrence in the three groups. Covariates used in the multivariate analyses included Gleason score, preoperative PSA level, seminal vesicle involvement and surgical margins. RESULTS: The mean (range) follow-up was 40.2 (12-104) months; there were no significant differences among the groups in initial PSA level and Gleason score. In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, the initial PSA, Gleason score, seminal vesicle involvement and surgical margins, but not transfusion group, were independent predictors of recurrence. CONCLUSION: Cell salvage during RRP does not influence the recurrence of prostate cancer. Cell salvage is a safe method of transfusion during RRP.