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BMC Urol. 2006 Jun 21;6:14.

Systematic review and meta-analysis of Transurethral Needle Ablation in symptomatic Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia.

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Agency for Health Technology Assessment, Ministry of Health & Consumers Affairs, Sinesio Delgado 4, 28029 Madrid, Spain.



Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) constitutes a major clinical problem. Minimally invasive therapies for the treatment of symptomatic BPH include Transurethral Needle Ablation (TUNA), but it is unclear what impact this technique has on the disease and its role among other currently available therapeutic options. The objective of this study is to ascertain the efficacy and safety of TUNA in the treatment of BPH.


Systematic review of the literature until January 2005 and meta-analysis of clinical studies assessing TUNA in symptomatic BPH. Studies were critically appraised. Estimates of effect were calculated according to the random-effects model.


35 studies (9 comparative, 26 non-comparative) were included. Although evidence was limited by methodological issues, the analysis of relevant outcomes indicates that while TUNA significantly improves BPH parameters with respect to baseline, it does not reach the same level of efficacy as TURP in respect to all subjective and objective variables. Further, its efficacy declines in the long-term with a rate of secondary-treatment significantly higher than of TURP [OR: 7.44 (2.47, 22.43)]. Conversely, TUNA seems to be a relatively safe technique and shows a lower rate of complications than TURP [OR:0.14 (0.05, 0.14)] with differences being particularly noteworthy in terms of postoperative bleeding and sexual disorders. Likewise, TUNA has fewer anesthetic requirements and generates a shorter hospital stay than TURP [WMD: -1.9 days (-2.75, -1.05)]. Scarce data and lack of replication of comparisons hinder the assessment of TUNA vs. other local therapies. No comparisons with medical treatment were found.


The body of evidence on which TUNA has been introduced into clinical practice is of only moderate-low quality. Available evidence suggest that TUNA is a relatively effective and safe technique that may eventually prove to have a role in selected patients with symptomatic BPH. TUNA significantly improves BPH parameters with respect to baseline values, but it does not reach the same level of efficacy and long-lasting success as TURP. On the other hand, TUNA seems to be superior to TURP in terms of associated morbidity, anesthetic requirements and length of hospital stay. With respect to the role of TUNA vis-à-vis other minimally invasive therapies, the results of this review indicate that there are insufficient data to define this with any degree of accuracy. Overall cost-effectiveness and the role of TUNA versus medical treatment need further evaluation.

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