Men with prostate cancer at an intermediate stage that warrants neither the active surveillance (“wait and watch”) of an early cancer nor the immediate surgical removal of the prostate (prostatectomy) of an advanced cancer may have a treatment option — high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), doctors at NYU Langone Medical Center report.
HIFU is a type of cancer surgery pioneered by clinician-scientists at the Langone Center. Doctors deliver the treatment using a machine that gives off high frequency sound waves that deliver a strong beam to cancer cells. The directed ultrasound energy ablates cancer tissue and only a rim of nearby normal tissue, the center reported, minimizing healthy tissue loss and reducing side effects, such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
“This technology provides important treatment for a niche group of men with prostate cancer who otherwise have limited options for care,” Herbert Lepor, MD, the Martin Spatz chair and professor of Urology at NYU Langone, said in a press release. “It was rewarding to see our first patient leave our out-patient facility in the afternoon, enjoy dinner with his wife that night, and report no adverse impact on erectile function three days later.”
Dr. Lepor and colleagues at NYU Langone were the first in the northeastern U.S. to use Sonablate, developed by SonaCare Medical, for the treatment of localized prostate cancer, the release stated.
During the procedure, an ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum of a patient, who is under general anesthesia. Focused ultrasound energy is then directed to cancerous prostate tissue under real-time ultrasound guidance, co-registered to the original MRI used to decide the extent of tissue ablation. The fusion technology helps ensure the surgeon ablates all cancerous tissue, and spares adjacent, healthy tissue.
“Building upon our pioneering work in prostate imaging and targeted biopsy, this technology adds an innovative, minimally invasive treatment option to the array of modern treatment choices we can offer our patients,” said James Wysock, MD, an assistant professor of urology and a urologic oncologist at NYU Langone certified in HIFU ablation. “We will continue to study this therapy and identify better ways to screen, detect, and treat the disease.”