Divorcing Diagnosis From Treatment: Contemporary Management of Low-Risk Prostate Cancer
Today, the majority of men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer will present with low-risk features of the disease. Because prostate cancer often takes an insidious course, it is debated whether the majority of these men require radical treatment and the accompanying derangement of quality of life domains imposed by surgery, radiation, and hormonal therapy. Investigators have identified various selection criteria for "insignificant disease," or that which can be monitored for disease progression while safely delaying radical treatment. In addition to the ideal definition of low risk, a lack of randomized trials comparing the various options for treatment in this group of men poses a great challenge for urologists. Early outcomes from active surveillance cohorts support its use in carefully selected men with low-risk disease features, but frequent monitoring is required. Patient selection and disease monitoring methods will require refinement that will likely be accomplished through the increased use of biomarkers and specialized imaging techniques.