Prostate cancer therapy, less side effects

April 18, 2012 at 10:27 AM
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LONDON, April 18 (UPI) -- A treatment for prostate cancer using high-intensity focused ultrasound is effective with fewer side effects than other treatment, British researchers say.

Dr. Hashim Ahmed of University College London and colleagues said the study involved 42 patients who received focal high-intensity focused ultrasound therapy delivered to clinically significant cancer lesions using the Sonablate 500.

The study published in the journal The Lancet found urinary and erectile function returned to pre-treatment levels 12 months after treatment and none of the men who completed the trial had urine leak and only 10 percent suffered from poor erections.

No biopsy evidence of cancer was identified in the treated regions in 30 of 39 men who were biopsied at six months and 36 of the 39 were free of clinically significant cancer, the study said. After re-treatment in four men, a total of 39 patients had no imaging evidence of disease at 12 months.

"We followed the high-intensity focused ultrasound treated patients for 12 months, evaluating the ability of this therapy to avoid side effects such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction," Ahmed said in a statement. "The results are very encouraging and warrant further study to demonstrate that focal therapy provides an alternative to traditional prostate cancer treatments with fewer side effects, which could mean a significant improvement in the quality of life for patients."

Most men treated for prostate cancer are treated with surgery or radiotherapy, which involve treating the whole prostate, but both cause damage to the surrounding non-cancerous tissue and can lead to substantial side effects such as urinary incontinence and impotence, Ahmed said.

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