HIFU shown to reduce side effects of prostate Ca treatment at 1 year

May 2, 2012

High-intensity focused ultrasound offers significantly fewer side effects in treating prostate cancer than traditional treatments, according to a recent study.

High-intensity focused ultrasound offers significantly fewer side effects in treating prostate cancer than traditional treatments, according to a recent study.

In the study, which was published online in Lancet Oncology (April 17, 2012), 42 patients received focal HIFU therapy delivered to clinically significant cancer lesions using the Sonablate 500 (Focus Surgery, Inc., Indianapolis). Results showed that urinary and erectile function returned to pre-treatment levels 12 months after treatment. None of the men who completed the trial had urine leak and 10% suffered from poor erections.

No biopsy evidence of cancer was identified in the treated regions in 30 of 39 men who were biopsied at 6 months, and 36 of the 39 were free of clinically significant cancer. After re-treatment in four men, a total of 39 patients had no imaging evidence of disease at 12 months.

"We followed the HIFU-treated patients for 12 months, evaluating the ability of this therapy to avoid side effects such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction," said first author Hashim Ahmed, MD, of University College London. "The results are very encouraging and warrant further study to demonstrate that focal therapy provides an alternative to traditional prostate cancer treatments with fewer side effects."

"These results bolster previously published data that suggest that focal therapy offers harm reduction, which may offer a new option in a spectrum of care to treat prostate cancer based on risk profile and the balance of clinical benefits and quality of life," said senior author Mark Emberton, MD, also of University College.

HIFU is currently approved for use in Europe but not in the U.S.

The Medical Research Council, the Pelican Cancer Foundation, and St. Peter’s Trust provided funding for the study.

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