Background: Active Surveillance (AS) is a therapeutic strategy for early-stage Prostate Cancer (PCa)
conceived to balance early detection of aggressive disease and overtreatment of indolent tumor. Several active
surveillance protocols have been published over the years, however the risk of misclassification still exist. In
this review, we revised the current criteria of AS and evaluated the characteristics of potential risk factors of
misclassification or deferred treatment.
Methods: We did a systematic search of the MEDLINE database, from 1993 to May 2015, according to Preferred
Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis statement guidelines and limited to the English
language. The search terms used included “prostate cancer” and “active surveillance” and “criteria. We have
excluded from the study reviews and editorial comments as well as multiple papers from the same data sets.
Results: Although the follow-up of reported studies was a quite short compared to the duration of the disease,
the data are sufficient to conclude that active surveillance should be offered to men with low-risk disease and to
men with intermediate risk and poor life expectancy. The present challenge, in fact, is to differentiate the clinically
silent disease from the unfavorable course by identifying the right timing for any deferred treatment. This
is made particularly difficult by the absence of randomized controlled trials directly comparing different AS
Conclusion: As summarized in this review, it is still difficult to select patients eligible for active surveillance
and differentiate them from those that should move to active treatment. From the data, currently available in the
literature, however, it is possible to recommend active surveillance to men with low-risk disease and to men
with intermediate-risk disease but with short life expectancy.