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J Endourol. 2007 Dec;21(12):1521-31. doi: 10.1089/end.2007.9875.

Single center experience with third-generation cryosurgery for management of organ-confined prostate cancer: critical evaluation of short-term outcomes, complications, and patient quality of life.

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Department of Urology, The Virginia Prostate Center of Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, USA.



Technical refinements such as improved ultrasonographic localization and the routine use of urethral warmers and small-gauge needle delivery systems have renewed interest in cryosurgical treatment as a minimally invasive option for selected patients with localized prostate cancer. Only three reports of quality of life (QoL) in prostate cryoablation exist, and none report on patients treated with third-generation cryoablative technology. We critically examine our initial series of consecutive patients at a single institution undergoing primary third-generation cryosurgical treatment of localized prostate cancer with respect to treatment outcome, morbidity profile, and QoL parameters. To our knowledge, this is the first QoL report on third-generation cryoablation of the prostate.


We retrospectively review the records of 89 consecutive patients with median followup of 11 months (1-32) who have undergone third-generation cryosurgical ablation of the prostate as primary treatment for localized prostate cancer with intention to cure. Patients were risk stratified according to preprocedural parameters of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), clinical stage, and Gleason score. PSA trends were recorded and treatment effectiveness was observed using different definitions of biochemical failure. Charts were reviewed for postprocedure complications. Quality of life was measured prospectively using the University of California, Los Angeles, Prostate Cancer Index as well as American Urological Association symptom scores. We compare a percent of baseline score (%BS) for various domains between our series of patients treated with primary cryoablation with a series of patients undergoing brachytherapy for localized prostate cancer.


Treatment success was defined by achievement of a PSA nadir of < or =0.1 ng/mL and by biochemical disease-free survival (BDFS) assessed with both a PSA threshold of < or =0.4 ng/dL over time and the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) definition of three consecutive rises in PSA. According to risk stratification, 86%, 81.5%, and 78% of low-, intermediate-, and high-risk patients, respectively, achieved a PSA nadir of < or =0.1 ng/mL. Overall, at 12 months follow-up, 94% of patients achieved BDFS using ASTRO criteria while 70% achieved BDFS using a PSA threshold of < or =0.4 ng/mL. With risk stratification, 74%, 70%, and 60% of low-, intermediate-, and high-risk patients, respectively, achieved BDFS defined by PSA threshold of < or =0.4 ng/mL. Complications were rare. The response rate for Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) questionnaires was 71% for cryoablation patients and 51% for brachytherapy patients. At 12 months follow-up, patients undergoing cryoablation on average achieved urinary and bowel domain scores comparable to baseline, but sexual domains remained well below baseline. When compared with a brachytherapy series with better baseline sexual function (P = 0.04) and urinary function (P = 0.03), cryotherapy patients experienced more negative impact on sexual function steadily for up to 12 months (P = 0.02). Urinary function was similar between the groups until 18 months, at which time cryoablation patients fared better (P = 0.01); this was sustained up to 24 months (P = 0.04).


Treatment success with cryosurgery varies with definition; however, our results are comparable to other series with regard to short-term cancer control. Complication rates in this series of third-generation cryosurgical patients are low. QoL characteristics of third-generation cryoablation are similar to those described in second-generation cryoablation series. Compared with brachytherapy, cryotherapy results in less irritative and obstructive voiding symptoms in the early post-treatment period and may improve urinary function up to 24 months after treatment. In a small group of older patients with baseline erectile dysfunction undergoing cryoablation, sexual function returns to 20% of its baseline value with up to 12 months follow-up.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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