But many healthy men who are relatively young, with a life expectancy greater than 10 years, are not comfortable deferring treatment of a potentially lethal disease. Surgery and radiation can often cure the cancer, but can cause side effects, such as incontinence, impotence and decreased bowel function.
This study enrolled nine men with biopsy-confirmed, low-risk prostate cancers (Gleason score 6 or 7, less than 12 mm of cancer) with an MRI of the prostate showing a small area of cancer. Patients were treated under conscious sedation while lying in an MRI scanner. After injecting a local anesthetic, the physicians inserted a small catheter across the perineum and used it to guide a tiny optical fiber, the laser and a cooling device into the prostate.
Under MRI guidance, the laser was positioned within the cancer and used to heat the area to a temperature that would kill cancer cells. The team checked the temperatures outside the treatment region every five seconds to protect healthy tissue, especially those near critical structures such as the urethra and rectal wall.
The entire procedure took less than four hours. That decreased to 2.5 hours as the team gained experience. The actual heat treatment averaged 4.3 minutes. All patients left the hospital the same day.
No patient had a major complication or a serious adverse effect. Average scores for urinary or sexual function were not significantly different one, three or six months after treatment. No patient had symptoms of rectal wall damage.
Biopsies of the treated areas six months after the procedure found no evidence of prostate cancer in seven of the nine patients (78%). The other two patients had small (2.5 mm and 1 mm) remaining cancers.
These are preliminary results, the authors caution, following a small numb
|Contact: John Easton|
University of Chicago Medical Center