Neoadjuvant treatment with androgen receptor signaling inhibitors prior to radical prostatectomy: a systematic review



There is an urgent need to develop novel treatment strategies in patients with unfavorable intermediate- and high-risk localized prostate cancer (PCa) to optimize the outcome of these patients. Androgen receptor signaling inhibitors (ARSI) have demonstrated a survival benefit in metastatic hormonesensitive and castration-resistant PCa. A similar benefit might be expected in the localized setting.


To perform a systematic review about the role of neoadjuvant ARSI in unfavorable intermediate and high-risk localized PCa.

Evidence acquisition

We performed a systematic review of the following databases: MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE, Cochrane Library and Web of Science. Publications of ASCO were consulted to identify meeting abstract with early results of ongoing trials. This systematic review was performed and reported in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines.

Evidence synthesis

Pathological complete response (pCR) following neoadjuvant ARSI treatment was observed in 4%–13% of the patients. Minimal residual disease response ranged from 36% to 73.9% when defined as residual cancer burden < 0.25 cm3 at final pathology and from 8% to 20% when defined as the diameter of the remaining tumor < 5 mm. Despite intense neoadjuvant ARSI treatment, residual pT3 disease was observed in 48%–76% of the patients. In contrast, positive surgical margins (PSM) were present in only 5%–22%. Only one trial reported BCR following neoadjuvant ARSI therapy (44% BCR at a median follow-up of 4 years).


Despite intense neoadjuvant ARSI therapy, pCR is rarely attained and high proportions of pT3 disease are still observed at final pathology. In contrast, promising results are obtained in terms of PSMs. Long-term survival outcomes are eagerly awaited.

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Gaëtan Devos is a PhD fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). Wout Devlies is a recipient of Emmanuel van der Schueren scholarship of “Kom Op Tegen Kanker”. Steven Joniau is a Senior Clinical Investigator of the FWO. The authors wish to thank Thomas Vandendriessche, Kristel Paque and Krizia Tuand, the biomedical reference librarians of the KU Leuven Libraries—2Bergen—learning Centre Désiré Collen (Leuven, Belgium), for their help in conducting the systematic literature search


This research received no external funding. This research was supported by the ‘Jozef De Wever’ fund for prostate cancer prevention of the KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

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Conceptualization, GD, BV, SJ; writing—original draft preparation, GD, BV, SJ; writing—review and editing, All authors; supervision, SJ; All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Gaëtan Devos.

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Devos, G., Vansevenant, B., De Meerleer, G. et al. Neoadjuvant treatment with androgen receptor signaling inhibitors prior to radical prostatectomy: a systematic review. World J Urol (2021).

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  • Neoadjuvant therapy
  • Androgen receptor signaling inhibitors
  • Apalutamide
  • Enzalutamide
  • Abiraterone
  • Radical prostatectomy
  • High-risk prostate cancer
  • Locally advanced prostate cancer