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Volume 24, Issue 3 (May 2022) 24, 305–310; 10.4103/aja202159

The comparison of survival between active surveillance or watchful waiting and focal therapy for low-risk prostate cancer: a real-world study from the SEER database

Qi-Ming Yuan, Tian-Hai Lin, Kun Jin, Shi Qiu, Xiang-Hong Zhou, Di Jin, Jia-Kun Li, Lu Yang, Qiang Wei

Department of Urology, Institute of Urology, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, China

Date of Submission 09-Mar-2021 Date of Acceptance 19-Jul-2021 Date of Web Publication 24-Sep-2021


To reduce treatment-related side effects in low-risk prostate cancer (PCa), both focal therapy and deferred treatments, including active surveillance (AS) and watchful waiting (WW), are worth considering over radical prostatectomy (RP). Therefore, this study aimed to compare long-term survival outcomes between focal therapy and AS/WW. Data were obtained and analyzed from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. Patients with low-risk PCa who received focal therapy or AS/WW from 2010 to 2016 were included. Focal therapy included cryotherapy and laser ablation. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to compare overall mortality (OM) and cancer-specific mortality (CSM) between AS/WW and focal therapy, and propensity score matching (PSM) was performed to reduce the influence of bias and unmeasured confounders. A total of 19 292 patients with low-risk PCa were included in this study. In multivariate Cox proportional hazards model analysis, the risk of OM was higher in patients receiving focal therapy than those receiving AS/WW (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.35, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.02–1.79, P = 0.037), whereas no significant difference was found in CSM (HR = 0.98, 95% CI: 0.23–4.11, P = 0.977). After PSM, the OM and CSM of focal therapy and AS/WW showed no significant differences (HR = 1.26, 95% CI: 0.92–1.74, P = 0.149; and HR = 1.26, 95% CI: 0.24–6.51, P = 0.782, respectively). For patients with low-risk PCa, focal therapy was no match for AS/WW in decreasing OM, suggesting that AS/WW could bring more overall survival benefits.

Keywords: active surveillance; cancer-specific mortality; focal therapy; low-risk prostate cancer; overall mortality; watchful waiting

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