Evaluation of Outcomes Following Focal Ablative Therapy for Treatment of Localized Clinically Significant Prostate Cancer in Patients >70 Years: A Multi-institute, Multi-energy 15-Year Experience

J Urol. 2023 Jul;210(1):108-116. doi: 10.1097/JU.0000000000003443. Epub 2023 Apr 4.


Purpose: In older patients who do not wish to undergo watchful waiting, focal therapy could be an alternative to the more morbid radical treatment. We evaluated the role of focal therapy in patients 70 years and older as an alternative management modality.

Materials and methods: A total of 649 patients across 11 UK sites receiving focal high-intensity focused ultrasound or cryotherapy between June 2006 and July 2020 reported within the UK-based HEAT (HIFU Evaluation and Assessment of Treatment) and ICE (International Cryotherapy Evaluation) registries were evaluated. Primary outcome was failure-free survival, defined by need for more than 1 focal reablation, progression to radical treatment, development of metastases, need for systemic treatment, or prostate cancer-specific death. This was compared to the failure-free survival in patients undergoing radical treatment via a propensity score weighted analysis.

Results: Median age was 74 years (IQR: 72, 77) and median follow-up 24 months (IQR: 12, 41). Sixty percent had intermediate-risk disease and 35% high-risk disease. A total of 113 patients (17%) required further treatment. Sixteen had radical treatment and 44 required systemic treatment. Failure-free survival was 82% (95% CI: 76%-87%) at 5 years. Comparing patients who had radical therapy to those who had focal therapy, 5-year failure-free survival was 96% (95% CI: 93%-100%) and 82% (95% CI: 75%-91%) respectively (P < .001). Ninety-three percent of those in the radical treatment arm had received radiotherapy as their primary treatment with its associated use of androgen deprivation therapy, thereby leading to potential overestimation of treatment success in the radical treatment arm, especially given the similar metastases-free and overall survival rates seen.

Conclusions: We propose focal therapy to be an effective management option for the older or comorbid patient who is unsuitable for or not willing to undergo radical treatment.

Keywords: ablation techniques; aged; cryotherapy; high-intensity focused ultrasound ablation; prostatic neoplasms.

MeSH terms

  • Ablation Techniques*
  • Aged
  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen