An independent panel convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recommended close monitoring rather than immediate treatment for men with localized, low-risk prostate cancer (PCa). Treatment can be delayed until warranted by disease progression.
The 14-member panel, which included authorities in cancer prevention, said approaches such as active surveillance have not been uniformly studied and available data do not suggest follow-up protocols. They recommended additional studies and standardized definitions to clarify optimal monitoring strategies.
Emerging consensus in the medical community defines low-risk PCa as a PSA level less than 10 ng/mL and a Gleason score of 6 or less, according to the panel. More than 100,000 PCa patients every year would undergo active monitoring instead of immediate treatment using this definition.
Framing of disease management options is an important factor in patient decision-making, and decisions should be highly individualized, the panel stated. Further recommendations endorsed registry-based cohort studies as well as multisite as opposed to single-institutional studies.