At the American Urological Association’s Annual Meeting held in May of 2015 in New Orleans, Peter A. Pinto presented information highlighting the current status of focal therapies for prostate cancer. According to the report, over 27,500 men were estimated to die from prostate cancer in 2015, pointing to the need for a more effective and definitive therapy for their treatment. Because of the potential harm of wholegland treatment, including the risk of incontinence and impotence, MRIguided focal therapy and MRIfocal ablation as a treatment for prostate cancer is growing in popularity, both with patients and physicians.
Focal ablation uses energy from a variety of sources, including highintensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), photodynamic therapy, lasers, and cryotherapy, to destroy the cancer inside the prostate gland. Focal laser ablation was the focus of the report at the AUA meeting as this treatment is compatible with MRI scanning and doctors can localize precisely the areas they are targeting and protect the surrounding soft tissues.
According to the report, clinical trials on 12 patients at the University of Chicago found minor adverse affects to the laser treatment. Patients had no significant changes in IPSS and SHIM scores, while 8 patients had no tumors at the ablation site. Two patients had contralateral Gleason 6 and four patients had residual disease. A repeat study with 15 patients at the National Cancer Institute found similar results. In the second study, 13 patients had no tumors while 2 patients had residual disease, one with G6.
This study points to the potential benefit of focused laser ablation to effectively treat prostate cancer while protecting the quality of life of the patients. Further study as to the effectiveness of the treatment is needed.