What is HIFU?
HIFU, or High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, is a minimally invasive technique for treatment of localized prostate cancer. HIFU focuses ultrasound energy and sound waves to a targeted area in the prostate resulting in rapid temperature increases and focal ablation of the treatment zone with great accuracy. In most cases, HIFU is performed on an outpatient basis in one to four hours depending on the size of the prostate. The biggest advantage of HIFU is a very low incontinence rate of less than 2% and a post-treatment erectile dysfunction rate of 20 to 30%. The key to success with HIFU, however, is proper patient selection.
Candidates include men with low- to intermediate-risk localized prostate cancer (i.e., no spread of cancer outside of the prostate). These men would have clinical stage T1 or T2a/b disease (i.e., no palpable nodule or nodule confined one lobe of the prostate), Gleason score of 7 or less (preferably not greater than Gleason Score 3+4=7), PSA level of less than 20, and a prostate volume of 40 grams or less. Initial data for treatment of appropriately selected men with HIFU has shown results comparable to other modalities with regard to localized cancer control, biochemical recurrence, and disease-free survival. Additionally, reported incontinence and erectile dysfunction rates after HIFU are quite low at less that 2% and 20 to 30%, respectively.