Focal Therapy in Primary Localised Prostate Cancer: The European Association of Urology Position in 2018

Henk G van der Poel, Roderick C N van den Bergh, Erik Briers, Philip Cornford, Alex Govorov, Ann M Henry, Thomas B Lam, Malcolm D Mason, Olivier Rouvière, Maria De Santis, Peter-Paul M Willemse, Hendrik van Poppel, Nicolas Mottet
European Urology 2018, 74 (1): 84-91

Radical treatment of localised prostate cancer is recognised to be an unnecessary intervention or overtreatment in many men. Consequently, there has been a rapid uptake in the use of focal ablative therapies. However, there are several biological and practical concerns about such approaches as they have yet to be proved as robust treatment options. In particular, the multifocal nature of prostate cancer argues against unifocal treatment, while limitations in imaging can preclude the accurate identification of the number, location, and extent of prostate cancer foci. To date, a number of ablative options have reported results on mainly low-risk disease. Most series are relatively immature, with a lack of consistent follow-up, and the morbidity of retreatment is often not considered. The authors consider focal therapy to be an investigational modality, and encourage prospective recording of outcomes and recruitment of suitable patients.

PATIENT SUMMARY: Focal therapy of prostate cancer is the targeted destruction of cancer within a specific part of the prostate gland, sparing the rest of the prostate and nearby tissue. This procedure could potentially reduce side effects when compared with established standard treatments, such as surgery or radiotherapy, which treat the entire prostate. Studies show that for most men with low-risk cancer, active surveillance is the preferred treatment option. However, the available data regarding all forms of focal therapy are still poor and inconclusive. Consequently, due to both the lack of clear results associated with focal therapy and the difficulties in detecting all cancerous areas of the prostate, focal therapy should be considered an investigational modality only.


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