The first ESMO Consensus Conference on prostate cancer was held in Zurich, Switzerland, on 17–19 November 2011, with the participation of a multidisciplinary panel of leading professionals including experts in methodological aspects. Before the conference, the expert panel prepared clinically relevant questions about prostate cancer in four areas for discussion as follows: diagnosis and staging, management of early localized disease, management of advanced localized disease and systemic disease. All relevant scientific literature, as identified by the experts, was reviewed in advance. During the Consensus Conference, the panel developed recommendations for each specific question. The recommendations detailed here are based on an expert consensus after careful review of published data. All participants have approved this final update.