Cryoablation is a minimally invasive procedure which uses extremely low temperatures to treat cancers.
The technique is based on cooling and thawing of tissue, which leads to so-called coagulation necrosis within the treatment area. As with IRE, fine needles are inserted into the prostate, and through a hole at the tip of the needles, cold gas (either argon or helium) is introduced into the tissue in several cycles to achieve the necrotic effect. The biggest advantage over other therapies is the fact that this process is extremely easy to track through imaging techniques such as ultrasound and CT, which makes Cryotherapy a very precise technique, meaning it’s especially suitable for cancers with defined margins.
Compared to IRE, cryoablation is based on destroying tissue with extreme cold, which may generally be more prone to adverse events, while IRE works on a cellular basis and can therefore spare surrounding tissue much easier. This is reflected in the stats—see below.
Both NanoKnife and Cryotherapy have the advantage of creating an immune response after the treatment, which is beneficial for cancer patients who commonly suffer from constraints in their immune response.
Numbers are taken from a recent review paper and thus vary. For more details, see citation.
Citation for Cryotherapy numbers: Mohammed, Aza, et al. "Cryotherapy and its applications in the management of urologic malignancies: A review of its use in prostate and renal cancers." Urologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations. Vol. 32. No. 1. Elsevier, 2014.