How Electricity Can Effectively Kill Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, affecting 25% of all men. The standard treatments are time-consuming and associated with significant side effects. A new retrospective study shows: Irreversible Electroporation (IRE) makes it possible to treat prostate cancer more efficiently, more specifically and with fewer side effects.
Prostate cancer, with an estimated 307,000 annual deaths worldwide, is the fifth leading cause of death from cancer in men (6.6% of total deaths). Standard treatments are the surgical removal of the prostate (radical prostatectomy = RPE) and radiation therapy. These are, however, associated with severe side effects, including impotence and incontinence, and post-treatment rehabilitation is often required.
Focal Therapy as an alternative
In a new scientific article, the outcome of 429 prostate cancer patients who were treated with Irreversible Electroporation (IRE), a focal and minimally-invasive therapy, was evaluated and presented. The remarkable result was: IRE of prostate cancer is safe, fast and just as effective as established treatments.
The data was published in the “international scientific Journal PlosOne“and presents the results of the 429 patients that were treated with IRE, comprising all stages and grades of prostate cancer. The study shows that the efficacy of the treatment is not impaired by the inclusion of higher cancer stages and grades.
IRE Treatment is just as effective as cutting the prostate out
In comparison to RPE, the surgical removal of the prostate, IRE treatment showed similar recurrence rates over the course of up to 6 years. This result indicates a similar efficacy of both therapies. However, the data also showed a much lower toxicity profile of IRE: the impotence rate was about 10%, while none (0%) of the patients became incontinent. For comparison, the rate of impotence after RPE is about 80% and incontinence about 10% (see New England Journal of Medicine 2013).
According to the authors, these positive results were not only achieved through the effectiveness of the treatment but are also attributable to the many years of experience of the physicians carrying out the treatments. “In recent years, we have refined the application of IRE for prostate cancer treatment” explains Dr. Michael Stehling, Head of the VITUS Prostate Center and Principal Investigator of this retrospective study. The VITUS Prostate Center has now treated over 900 patients, making the center not only a pioneer in the field, but also the clinic with the largest number patients treated with IRE for prostate cancer worldwide.
Dr. Stehling considers novel, personalized therapies as the future. “The goal is to treat each patient individually and to tailor the therapy to his/her specific needs. VITUS Prostate Center’s priority is to promote and facilitate innovative cancer therapies by developing more effective and better-tolerated treatment options for those affected.”
On Irreversible Electroporation
Irreversible Electroporation (IRE) is a novel focal therapy that is minimally invasive. During IRE, fine needles are placed through the skin and around the prostate via image guidance. The needles are then connected to a medical device, called the NanoKnife, which gives off high-frequency high-voltage pulses. The entire treatment takes about 90 minutes. After just one day, the patient can be discharged. Rehabilitation is not necessary.
More information for cancer patients
For more detailed information on early detection, treatment and aftercare of prostate cancer, consult VITUS Prostate Center at www.vitusprostate.com