How HIFU Works
Not all prostate cancers affect the full prostate gland, so you may be wondering why most prostate cancer treatment programs treat the entire gland.
For example, if a physician determined that you had a skin cancer lesion on your hand, would expect them to recommend removing or radiating the entire hand? Probably not. Yet, patients that are diagnosed with prostate cancer are typically offered just that. This is the result of prostate anatomy combined with the limitations of the most common treatments for prostate cancer (e.g. surgery and radiation), which unlike in other forms of organ contained cancer (e.g. breast, kidney, lung, etc.), cannot provide treatment that is limited to a select region of the affected gland. However, there is another option that treats only the affected portion of the prostate; it is commonly referred to as Focal Therapy.
Why HIFU for Focal Therapy?
The goal of Focal Therapy is to preserve as much non-cancerous tissue as possible to reduce or avoid unnecessary adverse effects to quality of life. Sonablate HIFU allows physicians to treat, though super-heating (also known as ablation) of specific regions the size of a grain of rice, while leaving the tissue outside the ablation zone unaffected.
This allows physicians to obtain a level of accuracy that is not possible with other treatment modalities (e.g. surgery or radiation). This accuracy, along with the patented treatment planning system of the Sonablate® 500, allows physicians to use Sonablate HIFU to provide Focal Therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer.
Studies have shown that focal therapy procedures for the prostate can result in reduced procedure-related side-effects, while also maintaining cancer control that is comparable to other treatment options. A recently published study in Lancet Oncology showed a trifecta rate of 87 percent1 (defined as pad-free/ leak-free continence, erections sufficient for intercourse, and absence of clinically significant disease) at 12 months.
In comparison, research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology from Memorial Sloan Kettering following patients that had undergone a Radical Prostatectomy reported a 30 percent2 trifecta rate (defined as cancer-free, full continence and potency) at 12 months.
1. Ahmed, HU. (2012). The Lancet Oncology. Focal Therapy for Localized Unifocal and Multifocal Prostate Cancer: A Prospective Development Study, 2045(12), 70121-3.
2. Saranchuk, JW. (2005). Journal of Clinical Oncology. Achieving Optimal Outcomes After Radical Prostatectomy. 23, 4146-4151.