INTRODUCTION: Recent advancements in imaging technology have significantly increased the diagnostic accuracy of magnetic resonance imaging for prostate cancer. However, tissue diagnosis and grading remain the gold standard for diagnosis and prognostication. Because transrectal ultrasound guided prostate biopsy performs poorly, extensive research has been conducted into biopsy techniques that are guided by magnetic resonance imaging, including direct in-bore, cognitive fusion and magnetic resonance imaging/ultrasound fusion guided biopsies. METHODS: The PubMed® database was searched from inception until January 15, 2014 for criteria pertaining to targeted prostate biopsy. RESULTS: Initial studies of the 3 types of targeted prostate biopsy yielded similar results. Most importantly, targeted biopsy detects a greater amount of clinically significant prostate cancer than does transrectal ultrasound guided biopsy. Magnetic resonance imaging/ultrasound fusion guided biopsy has generated the most interest, as it is an office based procedure that does not require a significant change from the current workflow of transrectal prostate biopsy. These techniques hold great promise in the areas of patient selection for definitive treatment, appropriate screening, active surveillance and focal therapy for prostate cancer. CONCLUSIONS: Targeted prostate biopsy has the potential to significantly improve the way patients are screened, treated and monitored in the setting of prostate cancer. These techniques allow for an individualized approach to each patient, which is a substantial improvement over the current practice of effectively random prostate biopsies. Large, multicenter studies are necessary to determine whether targeted prostate biopsy will become a definitive standard of care.