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A trial looking at high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for prostate cancer contained in one half of the prostate gland
This trial looked at the side effects of high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for early stage prostate cancer. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
High intensity ultrasound beams can kill cancer cells if the beam is focused directly onto them using a special machine. This treatment is called high intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU.
The people taking part in this trial had prostate cancer that was confined to one half of the prostate gland. The doctors used HIFU to treat the half of the prostate that contained the cancer. This is called ‘hemi ablation’ treatment.
The aims of this trial were to find out more about the side effects of HIFU, and to see how well it works for prostate cancer.
Summary of results
The research team found that HIFU didn’t cause many side effects, and that it is promising as a treatment for prostate cancer.
This trial recruited 20 men with stage T1 or T2 prostate cancer confined to one half of their prostate gland. Five men had low risk prostate cancer, and 15 had intermediate risk prostate cancer. Everyone taking part had HIFU treatment.
The most common side effects of treatment for prostate cancer are problems getting an erection (impotence) and problems controlling the flow of urine (incontinence). The research team found that after HIFU to one half of the prostate, only
- I out of 20 men (5%) had problems getting an erection
- 2 out of 20 men (10%) had problems controlling the flow of urine
- 1 out of 20 men (5%) leaked a small amount of urine when coughing or sneezing
They also found that the PSA level dropped from an average of 7.3ng/ml at the start of the trial, to 1.5ng/ml a year after treatment. They took biopsies from 19 of the men who took part a year after treatment. They only found a small amount of low risk cancer in 2 (11%) of them. One of these men chose to have further HIFU. The other chose ‘active surveillance’ rather than further treatment at that stage.
The research team concluded that HIFU is a promising treatment for prostate cancer, and that it has few side effects. They feel that following these results, more trials should be done to fully assess HIFU as a treatment for prostate cancer.
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 (
How to join a clinical trial
Prof Mark Emberton
Hashim Uddin Ahmed
Cancer Research UK
Medical Research Council (MRC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
Pelican Cancer Foundation
Prostate Cancer Research Centre
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKE/06/050.