Five-year Outcomes of Magnetic Resonance Imaging–based Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer: A Large Cohort Study[Formula presented]

Vasilis Stavrinides, Francesco Giganti, Bruce Trock, Shonit Punwani, Clare Allen, Alex Kirkham, Alex Freeman, Aiman Haider, Rhys Ball, Neil McCartan, Hayley Whitaker, Clement Orczyk, Mark Emberton, Caroline M. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although the use of multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) in active surveillance (AS) for prostate cancer is of increasing interest, existing data are derived from small cohorts. Objective: We describe clinical, histological, and radiological outcomes from an established AS programme, where protocol-based biopsies were omitted in favour of MRI-led monitoring. Design, setting, and participants: Data on 672 men enrolled in AS between August 2004 and November 2017 (inclusion criteria: Gleason 3 + 3 or 3 + 4 localised prostate cancer, presenting prostate-specific antigen <20 ng/ml, and baseline mpMRI) were collected from the University College London Hospital (UCLH) database. Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Primary outcomes were event-free survival (EFS; event defined as prostate cancer treatment, transition to watchful waiting, or death) and treatment-free survival (TFS). Secondary outcomes included rates of all-cause or prostate cancer–related mortality, metastasis, and upgrading to Gleason ≥4 + 3. Data on radiological and histological progression were also collected. Results and limitations: More than 3800 person-years (py) of follow-up were accrued (median: 58 mo; interquartile range 37–82 mo). Approximately 84.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 82.0–87.6) and 71.8% (95% CI: 68.2–75.6) of patients remained on AS at 3 and 5 yr, respectively. EFS and TFS were lower in those with MRI-visible (Likert 4–5) disease or secondary Gleason pattern 4 at baseline (log-rank test; p < 0.001). In total, 216 men were treated. There were 24 deaths, none of which was prostate cancer related (6.3/1000 py; 95% CI: 4.1–9.5). Metastases developed in eight men (2.1 events/1000 py; 95% CI: 1.0–4.3), whereas 27 men upgraded to Gleason ≥4 + 3 on follow-up biopsy (7.7 events/1000 py; 95% CI: 5.2–11.3). Conclusions: The rates of discontinuation, mortality, and metastasis in MRI-led surveillance are comparable with those of standard AS. MRI-visible disease and/or secondary Gleason grade 4 at baseline are associated with a greater likelihood of moving to active treatment at 5 yr. Further research will concentrate on optimising imaging intervals according to baseline risk. Patient summary: In this report, we looked at the outcomes of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based surveillance for prostate cancer in a UK cohort. We found that this strategy could allow routine biopsies to be avoided. Secondary Gleason pattern 4 and MRI visibility are associated with increased rates of treatment. We conclude that MRI-based surveillance should be considered for the monitoring of small prostate tumours. We report excellent clinical outcomes from one of the largest imaging-based active surveillance cohorts to date. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-visible cancer at baseline, along with 3 + 4 Gleason grade, predicts a greater likelihood of treatment at five years. MRI-visible lesions appear to have a distinct clinical trajectory from less conspicuous ones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-451
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Active surveillance
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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