New treatment for prostate cancer gives 'perfect results' sans side effects

   Apr 17, 11:45 am

London, April 17 (ANI): A new treatment for prostate cancer can free the disease for nine in ten men without debilitating side effects, say scientists.

The result offers new hope for tens of thousands of men with prostate cancer.

It is hoped the new treatment, which involves heating only the tumours with a highly focused ultrasound, will mean men can be treated without an overnight stay in hospital and avoiding the distressing side effects associated with current therapies.

In a study, the scientists found that focal HIFU, high-intensity focused ultrasound, provides the 'perfect' outcome of no major side effects and free of cancer 12 months after treatment, in nine out of ten case," the Telegraph reported.

Traditional surgery or radiotherapy can only provide the perfect outcome in half of cases currently.

Experts have said the results are 'very encouraging' and were a 'paradigm' shift in treatment of the disease.

It is hoped that large-scale trials can now begin so the treatment could be offered routinely on the NHS within five years.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence will say in new guidance next week that the treatment is safe and effective and larger scale trials should go ahead.

Focal HIFU involves careful selection of tumours, as small as a grain of rice, within the prostate gland and targeting them with highly focused ultrasound to heat them and destroy them.

The advantage over previous HIFU and other treatments is that damage to surrounding tissue is minimised, meaning there are far fewer side effects.

In the study, 41 men were treated with focal HIFU. After 12 months, none were incontinent and one in ten suffered impotence. The majority, 95 per cent, were free of cancer after 12 months.

"This changes the paradigm. By focusing just on the areas of cancer we reduce the collateral damage to surrounding tissue," said Dr Hashim Ahmed, who led the study at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University College London.

"Our results are very encouraging. We're optimistic that men diagnosed with prostate cancer may soon be able to undergo a day case surgical procedure, which can be safely repeated once or twice, to treat their condition with very few side-effects. That could mean a significant improvement in their quality of life.

"This study provides the proof-of-concept we need to develop a much larger trial to look at whether focal therapy is as effective as the current standard treatment in protecting the health of the men treated for prostate cancer in the medium and long term," he stated.

He said after Nice guidance is issued next week, he expected other doctors to consider using the treatment.

The study was published in the journal Lancet Oncology. (ANI)

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