Recent advances in high-intensity focused ultrasound, which was developed in the 1940s as a viable thermal tissue ablation approach, have increased its popularity. High-intensity focused ultrasound is currently utilized the most in Europe and Japan, but has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, USA, for this indication. The purpose of the present report is to review the scientific foundation of high-intensity focused ultrasound technology and the clinical outcomes achieved with commercially available devices. Recently published articles were reviewed to evaluate the current status of high-intensity focused ultrasound as a primary or salvage treatment option for localized prostate cancer. Improvements in the clinical outcome as a result of technical, imaging and technological advancements are described herein. A wide range of treatment options for organ-confined prostate cancer is available. However, high-intensity focused ultrasound is an attractive choice for men willing to choose less invasive options, although establishing the efficacy of high-intensity focused ultrasound requires longer follow-up periods. Technological advances, together with cultural and economic factors, have caused a dramatic shift from traditional open, radical prostatectomy to minimally invasive techniques. High-intensity focused ultrasound is likely to play a significant role in the future of oncology practice.