Oncological Long-term Outcome After Whole-gland High-intensity Focused Ultrasound for Prostate Cancer—21-yr Follow-up

Published:January 19, 2021DOI:



      Owing to the morbidity of established radical treatment options for prostate cancer, alternative whole-gland and focal treatment strategies have emerged. High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is one of the most studied sources for tissue ablation and has been used since the 1990s.


      To provide 21-yr oncological long-term follow-up data of an unselected series of patients who underwent whole-gland HIFU for nonmetastatic prostate cancer.

      Design, setting, and participants

      A total of 674 patients were treated between November 1997 and November 2012 in one university center.

      Outcome measurements and statistical analysis

      The oncological outcome was assessed by biopsy failure–free survival (BFFS), salvage treatment–free survival (STFS), metastasis-free survival (MFS), cancer-specific survival (CSS), and overall survival (OS). Multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression analyses were performed to estimate the prognostic relevance of clinical variables.

      Results and limitations

      In total, 560 patients were included into the evaluation and the median follow-up was 15.1 yr, with a range up to 21.4 yr. At 15 yr, CSS rates for low-, intermediate-, and high-risk patients were 95%, 89%, and 65%, respectively; MFS, STFS-1 (salvage treatment other than HIFU), STFS-2 (salvage treatment including repeat HIFU), and BFFS rates were 91%, 85%, and 58%; 77%, 63%, and 29%; 67%, 52%, and 28%; and 82%, 73%, and 47%, respectively. Preoperative high-risk category was an independent predictor of inferior OS, CSS, MFS, STFS, and BFFS.


      Although whole-gland HIFU achieved good long-term cancer control in low- and intermediate-risk patients, high-risk patients should not be treated routinely by HIFU. Intermediate-risk patients achieve high CSS and MFS rates, but a relevant salvage treatment rate has to be reckoned with. Long-term data after whole-gland therapy might help derive implications for focal treatment sources and patient selection.

      Patient summary

      Long-term data after whole-gland high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) therapy are crucial to prove its oncological efficacy, and may help derive implications for focal treatment strategies and patient selection. In this context, whole-gland HIFU achieved good long-term cancer control up to 21 yr in low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer (PCa) patients. Owing to considerably inferior long-term cancer control, it should not routinely be used in high-risk PCa patients.


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