Clinical Research

Patient selection for prostate focal therapy in the era of active surveillance: an International Delphi Consensus Project



Whole-gland extirpation or irradiation is considered the gold standard for curative oncological treatment for localized prostate cancer, but is often associated with sexual and urinary impairment that adversely affects quality of life. This has led to increased interest in developing therapies with effective cancer control but less morbidity. We aimed to provide details of physician consensus on patient selection for prostate focal therapy (FT) in the era of contemporary prostate cancer management.


We undertook a four-stage Delphi consensus project among a panel of 47 international experts in prostate FT. Data on three main domains (role of biopsy/imaging, disease and patient factors) were collected in three iterative rounds of online questionnaires and feedback. Consensus was defined as agreement in 80% of physicians. Finally, an in-person meeting was attended by a core group of 16 experts to review the data and formulate the consensus statement.


Consensus was obtained in 16 of 18 subdomains. Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) is a standard imaging tool for patient selection for FT. In the presence of an mpMRI-suspicious lesion, histological confirmation is necessary prior to FT. In addition, systematic biopsy remains necessary to assess mpMRI-negative areas. However, adequate criteria for systematic biopsy remains indeterminate. FT can be recommended in D’Amico low-/intermediate-risk cancer including Gleason 4+3. Gleason 3+4 cancer, where localized, discrete and of favorable size represents the ideal case for FT. Tumor foci <1.5 ml on mpMRI or <20% of the prostate are suitable for FT, or up to 3 ml or 25% if localized to one hemi-gland. Gleason 3+3 at one core 1mm is acceptable in the untreated area. Preservation of sexual function is an important goal, but lack of erectile function should not exclude a patient from FT.


This consensus provides a contemporary insight into expert opinion of patient selection for FT of clinically localized prostate cancer.

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Correspondence to K J Tay.

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Tay, K., Scheltema, M., Ahmed, H. et al. Patient selection for prostate focal therapy in the era of active surveillance: an International Delphi Consensus Project. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 20, 294–299 (2017).

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