What is HIFU?
HIFU is a highly effective and FDA-approved method to target and treat prostate cancer. While under anesthesia, a trained physician focuses a heated, high-intensity sound wave beam on the patient’s prostate. The beam targets and destroys cancer cells which are later dispelled naturally from the body.
The HIFU treatment procedure typically lasts 2-3 hours and the patient can go home the same day. Recovery is accomplished within a few weeks.
Rocky Mountain Urological Institute uses an FDA-approved, Ablatherm HIFU technology to treat first-time and recurrent prostate cancer. It is currently considered the most effective treatment available for recurrent prostate cancer.
Long-term Results Published
A 5-year experience was reported on 146 consecutive T-1/T- 2 prostate cancer patients, with a PSA level of 15 ng/ml or less.
The patients were treated with Ablatherm® HIFU in the University of Regensburg, Germany, between October 1997 and November 2002.
The median PSA nadir achieved after 3 months was 0.07 ng/ml and the median PSA level after a follow-up of 22 months was 0.15 ng/ml. Also, 87% had constant PSA levels of less than 1ng/ml and 93.4% of all patients had negative control biopsies.
No severe stress incontinence was observed. Erectile function was preserved in 47.3% of patients, and the International Prostate Symptom Score and Quality of Life Index did not change from before to after treatment.
Studies from Lyon, France where patients were followed for more than 5 years after treatment with the Ablatherm® HIFU showed similar results.
Over 90% of patients undergoing Ablatherm® HIFU therapy will not require further treatment for their prostate cancer. In those developing a recurrence, they remain candidates for surgery, radiation or hormone therapy.
Ablatherm® HIFU treatment has a similar success rate to radical prostatectomy but has the major advantage of using non-invasive technology.
If the PSA remains elevated after one treatment, however, or if a biopsy shows residual cancer of the prostate, re- treatment may be necessary.
Sometimes tissue around the nerve coming into the prostate is spared on the side of the prostate gland if it has not been found by biopsy to have cancer.
If a “nerve-sparing” procedure is done the re-treatment rate is higher. One unique advantage of treatment with Ablatherm® HIFU is the fact that treatment is repeatable: if the nerve-sparing procedure does not eliminate cancer, the procedure can be repeated.
The results demonstrate the efficacy and low associated morbidity of Ablatherm® HIFU. Ablatherm® HIFU seems to be a valid alternative treatment for patients who are not eligible for radical prostatectomy or who do not want to experience the potential side effects of the operation.
(1) High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound for the Treatment of Localized Prostate Cancer: 5-year Experience . A. Blana, B. Walter, S. Rogenhofer, W.F. Wieland, University of Regensburg, Dept. Of Urology, Germany. Urology 63 (2), p. 297-300, 200