Blog post

April 22, 2016

Study shows HIFU preserves quality of life

Though high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) was just cleared for use in the United States in October 2015, the technology is not new. HIFU has been in development for 30 years and was first used to treat prostate cancer in Europe in 1995. HIFU has traditionally been used to treat the entire prostate gland. However, recent studies suggest that partial gland, or focal, HIFU treatment may be a safer and effective treatment in select patients. The largest study to date on focal HIFU treatment has just been presented and shows that HIFU preserves quality of life.

Hashim Ahmed, Ph.D., Nuada Urology, presented his HIFU study, Medium Term Outcomes Following Focal HIFU for the Treatment of NonMetastatic Prostate Cancer: a UK Registry Analysis of 625 Cases, at the European Association of Urology annual meeting in Munich in March 2016.

Vituro Health Medical Director Stephen Scionti, M.D., calls it landmark research.

“This is the largest study using this kind of technology and I think it’s going to change the paradigm of what we do with HIFU – certainly across the United States,” Scionti said. “Other studies have looked at HIFU, but nobody has had the rigor or used the technology employed in this study.”

Dr. Scionti explains in this study (presented at the EAU meeting but not yet published in a peer-reviewed journal) they are not making decisions about focal therapy based on a random blind biopsy, instead they did an advanced diagnosis MRI, a mapped and targeted biopsy and used MRI images to guide HIFU treatment in patients with regionalized disease, the same approach Dr. Scionti and Vituro Health partner physicians take.

“They showed that if you follow HIFU patients for more than five years their overall survival is 97 percent, which is no different than traditional treatments (such as radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy), in addition to excellent long-term survival, it is metastasis-free survival at 97 percent,” Scionti said. “They showed excellent preservation of quality of life – incontinence was very rare and the vast majority didn’t have erectile dysfunction – both of which are major side effects of traditional treatments.”

The findings of this trial — the use of HIFU and advanced diagnostics can lead to excellent survival without compromising quality of life — reinforce what Dr. Scionti says has been already published in smaller scale studies.

“This study further demonstrates how HIFU allows us to use advanced technology and to personalize the treatment for every patient and it allows us to find, in my opinion, a far better balance between cancer treatments and maintaining quality of life than any other prostate cancer treatment we have available.”

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