Purpose of review The current challenge in prostate cancer (PCa) focal therapy indication and planning is how to accurately estimate tumor parameters such as volume, extent and grade. In addition to biopsy results, MRI provides an estimation of PCa contour, volume and histopathological characteristics such as presence of high Gleason grade. Among MRI sequences, diffusion-weighted imaging with apparent diffusion coefficient map is the sequence that showed the best results for cancer aggressiveness characterization. Recent findings It was shown that the higher the Gleason score, the lower the apparent diffusion coefficient value. However, accuracy is not sufficient for peripheral zone cancers to be validated for clinical decision and it was not enough investigated for transition zone cancers. Analysis of tumor extent showed a significant underestimation of tumor volume by imaging and this finding should be taken into consideration when planning focal therapy procedures. Summary Pathological implications of MRI for focal therapy planning are significant but not mature enough to be validated. Future research should aim to quantify cellularity and architectural patterns of PCa Gleason system in correlation with signal abnormalities for better assessment of tumor aggressiveness and extent, and to compare the boundaries of tumors between MRI and histopathological evaluation in order to define an optimal treatment margin.
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