High-intensity focused ultrasound for the treatment of localized prostate cancer: 5-year experience

Urology. 2004 Feb;63(2):297-300. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2003.09.020.


Objectives: To report on our 5-year results with transrectal high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) in the treatment of localized prostate cancer. HIFU delivers high energy, causing rapid coagulation necrosis of tissue within the target area without damaging the surrounding tissue.

Methods: A total of 146 patients with biopsy-proven Stage T1-T2N0M0 prostate cancer have been treated using the Ablatherm device. All patients had a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level of 15 ng/mL or less and a Gleason score of 7 or less (inclusion criteria). The mean follow-up was 22.5 months (range 4 to 62) and included PSA measurement and control sextant biopsies.

Results: The median PSA nadir 3 months after treatment was 0.07 ng/mL (range 0 to 5.67). The median PSA level after a follow-up of 22 months was 0.15 ng/mL (range 0 to 12.11), and 87% of the patients had a constant PSA level of less than 1 ng/mL; 93.4% of all patients had negative control biopsies. One rectourethral fistula was noted after a second HIFU treatment in a patient with a history of hemicolectomy and repetitive anal fistulas. Of all the patients, 12% underwent transurethral resection after HIFU because of obstruction, but no severe stress incontinence (grade 2 to 3) was observed. Erectile function was preserved in 47.3% of patients, and the International Prostate Symptom Score and Quality of Life Index did not change from before to after treatment.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrated the efficacy and low-associated morbidity of HIFU. HIFU does not exclude other treatment options and is repeatable. HIFU seems to be a valid alternative treatment for patients who are not suitable for radical surgery.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / blood
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy*
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Tables
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / blood
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Penile Erection
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Transurethral Resection of Prostate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasound, High-Intensity Focused, Transrectal* / instrumentation
  • Ultrasound, High-Intensity Focused, Transrectal* / methods


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen