New treatment for prostate cancer shows promise

The treatment was offered to 115 men with prostate cancer in five countries


A new, minimally invasive treatment that uses MRI-guided ultrasound can effectively treat prostate cancer, while reducing the risk of side effects, such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction associated with radiation and surgery, according to research presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology Annual Meeting.

The procedure involves MRI-guided transurethral ultrasound ablation (TULSA) to treat the whole gland. A small catheter-like device is inserted through the urethra into the prostate guided by MRI, and high-frequency sound waves are used to kill the cancer cells. The procedure can be done under general or spinal anaesthesia in two to three hours.

The treatment was offered to 115 men with prostate cancer in five countries. One year after treatment, cancer was undetectable on follow up biopsy by 76 per cent. There was a 92 per cent decrease in average prostate size within a year as well as decrease in PSA (prostate-specific antigen) from 6.3 ng/ml to 0.63 ng/ml at five years. Side effects such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction were fewer compared with other prostate cancer treatments. By five years, 92 per cent of the men had recovered continence and 87 per cent had good erectile function.

“We have more research to do, but if validated, TULSA has the potential to change the standard of care for thousands of men," the lead researcher said.

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