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Health Innovations

Focal Therapy for Prostate Cancer and More New Treatments

Sep. 30, 2021

About 1 and 8 men develop prostate cancer but it is also very treatable. Here we uncover some of the newest and most effective options for prostate cancer treatment.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for men living in the United States. As one of the most dangerous and common forms of cancer, prostate cancer sparks the interests of healthcare experts all around the world.

In turn, scientists continuously work together to discover new treatments for prostate cancer. Among these new treatments and innovations are genomic analysis of tumors, and various types of focal therapies.

What is focal therapy for prostate cancer?

While using focal therapy for prostate cancer treatment is a new method, it shows promising results. Focal therapy treats the cancerous prostate tissue in a way that won’t affect the healthy issues in the surrounding area.

“In the past, surgery was the only option for patients, which consisted of removing the entire prostate – but we found that less than 25% of the prostate was actually involved in the cancer,” explained Abhinav Sidana, MD, director of urologic oncology at the University of Cincinnati Cancer Center and assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at the UC College of Medicine.

Dr. Sidana added, “Surgery was inducing a lot of side effects in these men. With these new treatment options, we can localize the prostate cancer using MRI and then destroy only the cancer in the prostate, thus preserving the rest of the tissue and minimizing the side effects.”

Focal therapy treatments are ideal for patients who are in the early stages of prostate cancer. This is because if the cancer has spread away from the prostate, it would be much more difficult to focally target the cancer.

These treatments range from minimally invasive to noninvasive, and there are multiple options physicians consider for their patients, including cryoablation,  high-intensity focused ultrasound, and irreversible electroporation.

High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) for Prostate Cancer

A high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a noninvasive treatment that uses focused ultrasound to heat and kill (ablate) cancerous cells in the prostate. This procedure is meant for patients with low to medium aggressive prostate cancer and is efficient in multiple ways such as low risk for side effects, no need for surgery and it does not require admittance to the hospital.

Focal Cryotherapy for Prostate Cancer

Focal cryotherapy involves a small, needle-sized probe that delivers a solution to the prostate. This solution freezes a portion of the prostate in order to kill the cancer cells.

Focal Irreversible Electroporation for Prostate Cancer

One of the newest methods of treatment for prostate cancer is called irreversible electroporation.

“With this method, we introduce needles into the prostate which allows the passage of electro currents and destruction of the cancerous prostate tissue,” Dr. Sidana said.

In early-stage prostate cancers, this treatment can change the electrical potential of the prostate cells, causing them to rupture with the procedure. Ultrasounds and CT scans help guide focus of the current precisely on the prostate tumors so that they avoid harming surrounding healthy tissues.

How do I know which treatment is right for me?

Your treatment choices depend on the type of prostate cancer you have, test results and the stage of the cancer. The goal of treatment may be to cure you, control the cancer and help ease problems caused by cancer. Your healthcare team will talk through treatment choices, the goals of treatment, and what the risks and side effects may be.

While there are various prostate cancer treatment options, the UC Cancer Center recently adapted a way to personalize treatment plans even further.

“One of the exciting, new innovations that we’re offering is genomic analysis of tumors,” said Timothy D. Struve, MD, radiation oncologist at the UC Cancer Center and assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the UC College of Medicine.

“What these tests allow us to do is to look at the genes – what’s driving that tumor and that allows us to tailor the treatment approach to that patient.”

In addition to the new focal therapies discussed in this article, physicians consider treating prostate cancer with:

  • Surgery.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Hormone therapy.
  • Vaccine therapy.
  • Bone-directed therapy.

“Patients can rest assured that I’m giving them an unbiased approach to their prostate cancer treatment. I’m just as happy to recommend a surgery to patients than I am to recommend radiation therapy – so, if I think that treatment option is truly better for them, that’s what I’ll recommend,” Dr. Struve explained.

Learn More About Prostate Cancer

If you have questions about prostate cancer and the different types of treatment options, the UC Cancer Center offers a multidisciplinary prostate cancer clinic to help educate patients and loved ones. For more information, call 513-475-8000.