HIFU, not quite ready for prime time
The goal of all cancer treatment is to reduce the risk of danger from the cancer, while minimizing side effects and risk of recurrence. HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) is one of the most recent additions for the treatment of prostate cancer. Recent results from USC demonstrate recurrence of significant cancer after 2 years was 24%, with 19% percent of patients requiring further treatment. The majority of recurrences occurred within the areas that were already treated. The main predictor of tumor recurrence was cancer involving both sides of the prostate prior to treatment. There was no decline in urinary function or sexual function after treatment.
Further long-term investigation into HIFU is necessary. These short term results indicate that much more information is needed on who will benefit from this form of treatment the most. Also, given the option of Active Surveillance, we need to be sure not to over treat low risk patients when observation and monitoring is a safe and viable alternative.