Focal therapy is a relatively new and extremely attractive option of treatment for prostate cancer. It has been described as the "middle approach" between active surveillance and radical treatment, aiming to destroy the tumor itself or the region containing the tumor in order to preserve surrounding non-cancerous tissue.
The goal is to maintain disease control at acceptable levels, while preserving erectile, urinary, and rectal function. While a lot of technologies have been described for delivering targeted therapy to the prostate, such as cryoablation, high intensity focused ultrasound, photodynamic therapy, irreversible electroporation and laser, the key point is the patient selection.
Recent advances in mpMRI and the introduction of new biopsy techniques that use MR images as a guidance, have significantly improved localization of the tumor lesions and the detection rate, evolving prostate biopsy toward targeted rather than systematic biopsies. The future challenge to clinicians is to precisely risk-stratify patients to differentiate between those who would profit from focal treatment and who would not.
Forthcoming research efforts should pursue to identify molecular, genetic, and imaging characteristics that distinguish aggressive prostate tumors from indolent lesions.
Minerva Urol Nefrol. 2015 Sep;67(3):263-280. Epub 2015 May 27.
Miano R1, Asimakopoulos A, Da Silva R, Bove P, Jones S, De La Rosette J, Kim F.
Division of Urology, Department of Experimental Medicine and Surgery, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy