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Volume 17, Issue 6 (November 2015) 17, 885–887; 10.4103/1008-682X.151396

Active surveillance for prostate cancer: when to recommend delayed intervention

Kara N Babaian

Department of Urology, University of California, Irvine, Orange, CA, USA

Correspondence: Prof. Kara N Babaian

3 July 2015


There are no agreed upon guidelines for placing patients on active surveillance (AS). Therefore, there are no absolute criteria for taking patients off AS and when to recommend treatment. The criteria used to define progression are currently based on prostate specific antigen (PSA) kinetics, biopsy reclassification, and change in clinical stage. Multiple studies have evaluated predictors of progression such as PSA, PSA density (PSAD), prostate volume, core positivity, and visible lesion on multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI). Furthermore, published nomograms designed to predict indolent prostate cancer do not perform well when used to predict progression. Newer biomarkers have also not performed well to predict progression. These findings highlight that clinical and pathologic variables are not enough to identify patients that will progress while on AS. In the future, with the use of imaging, biomarkers, and gene expression assays, we should be better equipped to diagnose/stage prostate cancer and to distinguish between insignificant and significant disease.

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