Laser Tx for Prostate Cancer
Men with low-risk prostate cancer have long had to choose between aggressive treatment with the potential for significant side effects and active surveillance with the risk of disease progression. Now they may have a new option. Focal laser ablation uses precisely targeted heat delivered through a small insertion and guided into the prostate by magnetic resonance imaging. The laser burns away cancerous cells in the prostate.
Results of a small phase 1 trial, published in the journal Radiology, found that this approach is safe and can be performed without the troubling complications associated with more aggressive therapies. Laser therapy is designed to treat just the diseased portion of the prostate rather than removing or irradiating the entire gland. None of the nine men treated in the study had a significant side effect. Six months after therapy, seven of the nine patients no longer had evidence of cancerous tissue in biopsies of the treated area.
A release from the University of Chicago Medical Center where the research was done quotes Scott Eggener MD as saying, "Focal therapy is the male version of a lumpectomy for breast cancer. Rather than removing the entire organ, we are testing this less-invasive way of destroying just the cancer and leaving healthy tissue in place." Aytekin Oto MD added, "This experimental approach appears to combine the most attractive element of treatment, eradication of the cancer, with the most appealing element of active surveillance, maintaining quality of life. These early safety results are promising, but we definitely need longer-term data."
A phase 2 trial of this procedure, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, is now underway at the University of Chicago Medicine. The physicians hope to enroll 27 patients.