Active Surveillance of Grade Group 1 Prostate Cancer: Long-term Outcomes from a Large Prospective Cohort

Eur Urol. 2020 Jun;77(6):675-682. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2019.12.017. Epub 2020 Jan 7.


Background: Active surveillance (AS) is the preferred management option for most men with grade group (GG) 1 prostate cancer (PCa). Questions persist regarding long-term outcomes and the optimal approach to AS.

Objective: To determine survival and metastatic outcomes in AS patients. Secondary objectives were to measure the cumulative incidence and association of patient-level factors on biopsy grade reclassification.

Design, setting, and participants: A prospective, active, open-enrollment cohort study was conducted from 1995 through July 2018 at a tertiary-care academic institution. Patients with very-low-risk or low-risk PCa were enrolled.

Intervention: AS with semiannual prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and digital rectal examination, serial prostate biopsy, and multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI).

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: The 10- and 15-yr cumulative incidences of primary and secondary outcomes were determined.

Results and limitations: Overall, 1818 men were monitored on AS for a median of 5.0yr (interquartile range 2.0-9.0). There were 88 non-PCa deaths, four PCa deaths, and one additional case of metastasis. The cumulative incidence of PCa-specific mortality or metastasis was 0.1% (95% confidence interval, 0.04-0.6%) at both 10 and 15yr. The 5-, 10-, and 15-yr cumulative incidences of biopsy grade reclassification were 21%, 30%, and 32%, respectively. On multivariable analysis, biopsy grade reclassification was associated with older age, African-American race, PSA density, and increased cancer volume on biopsy, and men who underwent mpMRI prior to enrollment were less likely to undergo grade reclassification. Our selection and monitoring are more stringent than many other contemporary AS programs.

Conclusions: In a large, single-institution, prospective AS cohort, the risk of cancer death or metastasis was <1% over long-term follow-up. Consistent with clinical guidelines, these data support the use of AS for the management of most men diagnosed with GG1 PCa.

Patient summary: This study investigated long-term outcomes in patients with grade group 1 prostate cancer managed with active surveillance (AS). Ten years after enrolling in AS, the risk of metastasis or death from prostate cancer was <1%, while 48% of men switched to treatment. Patients who underwent multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI)/ultrasound-fusion targeted biopsy prior to enrollment were less likely to experience biopsy grade reclassification during follow-up, suggesting a role for mpMRI as part of a comprehensive risk assessment to confirm AS eligibility. These findings support the safety of AS in most men with grade group 1 prostate cancer, but specific outcomes may differ in programs with less intensive monitoring.

Keywords: Active surveillance; Low-risk prostate cancer; Magnetic resonance imaging; Prostate biopsy; Prostate-specific antigen; Very-low-risk prostate cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • Watchful Waiting*