The economics of active surveillance for prostate cancer

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17 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review the economics of managing low-risk prostate cancer with active surveillance compared with other standard therapies. RECENT FINDINGS: The expenses of caring for men with prostate cancer vary depending on treatment modality chosen and appear to be escalating. Costs are generally lowest with traditional watchful waiting and highest with radiation therapy. Compared with immediate treatment, active surveillance can result in a net per-patient savings of $12 194 at 5 years and $4329 at 10 years. Active surveillance demonstrates lower 5-year costs over other initial treatments as long as fewer than 70% exit active surveillance in any given year and at least 12% of men remain on active surveillance at year 5. Yearly surveillance biopsy reduces the average simulated cost savings at 10 years by $4951 per patient. SUMMARY: Active surveillance represents a cost-effective strategy for managing low-risk prostate cancer, as the majority of men remain without additional treatment over time. Prostate biopsy is the highest expenditure associated with active surveillance, and increasing the frequency of prostate biopsy will reduce the cost-effectiveness of this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-282
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Urology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2013


  • active surveillance
  • costs
  • economics
  • prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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