Focal High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)…AKA “The Male Lumpectomy” Clinical Study 5 Year Post Procedure Documents Results

July 2, 2019 3:50 pm Published by

There was a remarkable study published in the journal European Urology last year about prostate cancer treatment with HIFU that did not get much attention within the American urological community.  Why is that, you might ask? Frankly, it’s because many U.S. urologists tend to ignore or dismiss clinical studies that are not done here on our soil.  That’s not a good attitude because it causes many doctors to remain unaware of valid research in other parts of the world.  

In the field of HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) for the treatment of prostate cancer, for example, we are decades behind the work done on other countries.  The first major study about the efficacy of HIFU was published 20 years ago from work done in Japan. Over the years, country after country approved HIFU because of its excellent safety record and cancer cure rates. When our FDA finally approved HIFU for use in the U.S. we were the 45th country to do so.  That’s a good example of how, sometimes, U.S. doctors follow and do not lead in all fields of medicine.  (Review Clinical Studies)

Dr. Pugach & Mark Emberton in London

In June, 2018, Drs. Mark Emberton and Hashim Ahmed, from the United Kingdom, published a remarkable study about the efficacy of HIFU for prostate cancer.

I spent some time with Dr. Emberton in London 2 years ago observing his technique for a particular HIFU technique known as “focal HIFU.”

The study followed 625 patients.  With a median follow-up period of 56 months, the results were remarkable.  At 5 years post treatment, metastasis free, cancer specific and overall survival was 98%.  Equally important, 98% of patients were continent. 

There are several important take away points from this landmark study.  The first is to note that patients were treated with focal HIFU.  That means that only areas shown to have cancer on a biopsy or MRI were treated.  If the study results continue to show efficacy over time this means that we can safely recommend limited HIFU treatment for prostate cancer to patients in the U.S.

Why is that important?  HIFU is known to have a remarkably low incidence of side effects such as permanent urine leakage or erectile dysfunction when compared to surgery, and lower recurrence rates when compared to radiation.  The overall incidence of incontinence is 3% and the likelihood of permanent ED is 5%. With focal HIFU, the rate of both side effects decreases to less than 1%!

Why is Focal HIFU referred to as the “Male Lumpectomy”?

Focal HIFU has been nicknamed “the male lumpectomy.”  Just as women do not routinely undergo a radical mastectomy for limited breast cancer, the analogy for prostate cancer is that we may not need to treat an entire prostate surgically (radical prostatectomy) or with radiation in any form.  Men can now have cancer of the prostate treated with an outpatient, NON-INVASIVE procedure that typically results in no long-term side effects. 

As a pioneer in the use and development of HIFU since 2005 and more than 3000 HIFU procedures, I am acknowledged as a HIFU expert and as one of the most experienced practitioners in the world.  

For more information, and to schedule an in-person, online or telephone consultation, call 844-HIFU-DOC (1-844-443-8362). 

1”A Multicentre Study of 5-year Outcomes Following Focal Therapy in Treating Clinically Significant Nonmetastatic Prostate Cancer+, European Urology, October 2018, Volume 74, Issue 4, Pages 422–429,

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This post was written by Western States HIFU