Early prostate cancer: clinical decision-making

Lancet. 2003 Mar 22;361(9362):1045-53. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(03)12833-4.


Prostate cancer is one of the most common malignant diseases for which health-care intervention is sought worldwide, and in many developed countries it is the most common. Some patients with early-stage prostate cancer, especially those who are elderly and have comorbidities, can be observed without treatment. Surgery (radical prostatectomy) and radiotherapy (external-beam radiotherapy, brachytherapy, or both) are the most widely accepted curative options for patients with early-stage disease who need intervention. All these local treatments have been refined, resulting in comparable cure rates; however, they all have different side-effect profiles. Adjuvant systemic treatments (hormones or chemotherapy), which are effective for advanced-stage disease, might have a greater role in early-stage disease. Selecting the best option for individuals from the available options is challenging--the decision on whether and how to treat is based on many disease and patient factors. Here, we review the major treatment options, discuss their relative advantages and disadvantages, and provide a general approach to management of patients with early-stage prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Brachytherapy / adverse effects*
  • Decision Making
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatectomy / adverse effects*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / classification
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Urinary Incontinence / etiology