Benefits of active surveillance therapy for localized prostate cancer not yet demonstrated
Research Activities, February 2012, No. 378
The clinical benefit of active surveillance compared to immediate therapy for early-stage, localized prostate cancer has not yet been demonstrated, concludes a new evidence report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Active surveillance and watchful waiting are used by physicians to monitor patients after they have been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer. Under active surveillance using regular monitoring, physicians immediately intervene at the earliest sign of cancer progression with treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy. Watchful waiting, in contrast, involves interventions that are implemented when symptoms develop, with the chief aim to reduce symptoms rather than cure the disease.
Researchers at AHRQ's Tufts Evidence-based Practice Center summarized existing evidence on the role of active surveillance in the management of early-stage, low-risk prostate cancer and identified the need for additional research on observational therapies. The review was commissioned by the National Institutes of Health for presentation at its State-of-the-Science Conference on December 5-7, 2011.
You can access the report, The Role of Active Surveillance in the Management of Men With Localized Prostate Cancer, at AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program Web site.