Ultrasound Plus MRI Could Be New Treatment Strategy Against Prostate Cancer

By   |  March 20, 2024

By Dennis Thompson and Carole Tanzer Miller HealthDay Reporters  |  Copyright © 2024 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

WEDNESDAY, March 20, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Precisely delivered ultrasound could be an effective treatment for prostate cancer, with high-frequency sound waves heating and killing off cancer cells, a new study says.

The treatment killed off all prostate cancer cells in 76% of men who underwent a follow-up biopsy one year later, researchers said.

It also cut down on unwanted side effects, such as incontinence and sexual dysfunction.

In the procedure, MRI scans are used to precisely apply ultrasound to a man’s prostate cancer, through a small catheter-like device inserted through the urethra.

“This image-guided therapy maximizes our ability to kill cancer cells while minimizing collateral damage to the prostate to achieve the ultimate trifecta in prostate cancer treatment: full local cancer control while maintaining urinary continence and potency,” lead researcher Dr. Steven Raman, a professor of radiology, urology and surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said in a news release.

For this study, 115 men with prostate cancer were recruited at 13 hospitals in five countries and given the ultrasound treatment, researchers said. The procedure can be performed in an outpatient facility in two or three hours, under general or spinal anesthesia.

Results show that the treatment reduced or eliminated cancer cells, and also shrank men’s prostates and reduced their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels.

The men treated with ultrasound experienced a 92% decrease in average prostate size within a year, and a healthy decrease in PSA levels at five years. High PSA levels are a warning sign for prostate cancer.

The therapy also produced fewer side effects than other prostate cancer treatments.

After five years, 92% of the men had control over their bladder and 87% had good erectile function. Incontinence and erectile dysfunction are two common side effects of prostate cancer surgery.

Raman believes that ultrasound therapy “represents a revolution in whole-gland treatment for prostate cancer.”

“Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, affecting one in eight men in their lifetime,” he said. “We have more research to do, but if validated, (ultrasound) has the potential to change the standard of care for thousands of men.”

Researchers are scheduled to present these findings in Salt Lake City at a meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology, which begins Saturday.

Findings presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The California Institute of Technology has more about ultrasound treatment to kill cancer.

SOURCE: Society of Interventional Radiology, news release, March 20, 2024