A study of High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) for men with early stage prostate cancer

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Cancer type:

Prostate cancer




Phase 2

This trial was looking at a new treatment called High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) for prostate cancer.

If you have prostate cancer that is contained within your prostate gland, it is called localised prostate cancer. Your specialist may suggest active monitoring, radiotherapy, or surgery.

In this trial, doctors were looking at a new treatment called High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU). High intensity ultrasound beams can kill cancer cells if the beam is focused directly onto them using a special machine. The HIFU machine used in this trial was called Sonablate 500.

Doctors use PSA blood tests to monitor prostate cancer treatment. In this trial, they wanted to find out how well HIFU worked by looking at PSA levels before and after treatment.

Summary of results

The researchers found the PSA level reduced to a very low level in many of the men taking part.

The trial recruited 172 men who had localised prostate cancer. Their average age was 64.

The trial team were able to put 136 of the men into risk groups

  • 38 men were considered to have a low risk of their cancer growing or spreading
  • 51 men were considered to have an intermediate risk
  • 47 men were considered to have a high risk

The trial team did not have enough information to work out the risk for the other 36 men in the study.

All the men taking part had a single session of HIFU treatment. Just under a third of them also had hormone therapy for 3 months before having HIFU.

They had PSA tests every 3 months for the first year after treatment. The researchers found that nearly 8 out of 10  men (78%) had a very low PSA level 12 months after the HIFU treatment. A very low PSA level was less than 0.5ng/ml, but in about a third of the men taking part, tests could not detect any PSA in the blood.  

The researchers suggest that these results show HIFU can help men with localised prostate cancer. But they point out that they would need longer term follow up to see if there is a long term benefit.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal.  The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor M Emberton
Mr Hashim Ahmed

Supported by

Pelican Cancer Foundation (charity)
University College London (UCL)
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 534

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Keith took part in a trial looking into hormone therapy

A picture of Keith

"Health wise I am feeling great. I am a big supporter of trials - it allows new treatments and drugs to be brought in.”

Last reviewed:

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