High-intensity focused ultrasound helps 91% of prostate cancer patients avoid radical treatment

Utilizing high-intensity focused ultrasound ablation helps the vast majority of prostate cancer patients avoid radical treatments such as radiation and surgery.

That’s according to a new investigation out of USC’s Keck School of Medicine, published recently in the Journal of Urology. Such radical interventions are standard for patients with the disease, but they can often result in severe side effects including impotence and incontinence.

Focused ultrasound offers an alternative, allowing providers to target the prostate, raising the temperature to destroy cancerous tissue in the organ. Testing this method among 100 men, USC researchers recorded promising early results, including 91% avoiding radical treatment in the first two years.

Lead author Andre Abreu said the results should empower providers to incorporate this treatment strategy into their practice.

“We hope this study encourages prostate cancer patients to talk to their doctor about all potential treatment options to ensure that they receive a personalized care plan that addresses their individual needs,” Abreu, an assistant professor of radiology and urologic surgeon with Keck Medicine, said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Abreu et al. made their determinations by studying 100 consecutive patients who underwent high-intensity focused US between 2015 and 2019. They believe this is the first and largest study to examine outcomes after using HIFU ablation as the primary treatment for prostate cancer. Keck said it was one of the first in the U.S. to use this technology, following FDA approval in 2015.

Assessing outcomes at the 20-month mark, USC experts also found that about 73% of patients avoided “treatment failure” including cancer recurrence, prostate cancer metastases, or death. About 76% of patients had no evidence of clinically significant prostate cancer at follow-up, while 13% did experience minor complications, they noted.

You can read more of the team’s analysis in the Journal of Urology here.