Introduction: Irreversible electroporation (IRE) is a new and promising focal therapy for the treatment of localized prostate cancer. In this systematic review, we summarize the literature on IRE for prostate cancer published over the last decade.

Methods: PubMed and EMBASE were searched with the end date of May 2023 to find relevant publications on prostate cancer ablation using IRE. Original studies with focal IRE as the primary curative treatment which reported on functional or oncological outcomes were included. The bibliography of relevant studies was also scanned to identify suitable articles.

Results: A total of 14 studies reporting on 899 patients treated with IRE for localized prostate cancer were included. Of all the studies reviewed, 77% reported on recurrence within the zone of ablation, and it ranged from 0% to 38.9% for in-field and 3.6% to 28% for out-of-field recurrence. Although, a standardised follow-up protocol was not followed, all the studies employed serial prostate-specific antigen monitoring, a multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging, and a biopsy (6-12 months post-treatment). Across all the studies, 58% reported that the urinary continence returned to the pretreatment levels and 25% reported a minor decrease in the continence from the baseline at 12-months of follow-up. Erections sufficient for intercourse varied from 44% to 75% at the baseline to 55% to 100% at 12-months of follow-up across all the studies.

Conclusion: IRE, as a focal therapy, shows promising results with minimal complications and reasonably effective oncological control, but the data comparing it to the standard of care is still lacking. Future research should focus on randomized definitive comparisons between IRE, radical prostatectomy, and radiation therapy.

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