Endocare, Inc, a medical device company focused on the development of minimally invasive technologies for tissue and tumor ablation, announced that a randomized clinical trial of 244 men with localized prostate cancer demonstrated that cryoablation, a minimally invasive method of freezing cancerous tumors to destroy them, is at least as effective as external-beam radiation when used to treat localized prostate cancer. The trial is the first North American randomized clinical trial comparing two definitive prostate cancer treatments in the past 25 years to enroll more than 100 patients. In addition, it is one of 13 studies of the use of cryoablation for treating prostate and renal cancer to be presented at the American Urological Association (AUA) Annual Meeting held May 19-24 in Anaheim, Calif.
The head-to-head trial, led by Bryan J. Donnelly, MD, a urologist at the University of Calgary, also showed that after 36 months, only 6.6% of the cryoablation patients had positive biopsy findings compared to 26.3% of the patients who underwent radiation therapy.
"This study demonstrates that cryoablation is equivalent to external-beam radiation when used to treat localized prostate cancer," said Dr. Donnelly, who presented the study at the conference. "Furthermore, the positive biopsy rates 3 years after treatment were significantly higher for patients who underwent radiation therapy... Like radiation therapy, cryoablation is a treatment option that should be considered by all patients who are diagnosed with localized prostate cancer."
Jay Fahrer, a spokesman for the Washington, DC-based Men's Health Network, a nonprofit group of health professionals committed to improving the health and wellness of men, applauded the use of head-to-head, randomized studies of cancer treatment options. "The decision that men face when diagnosed with prostate cancer is extremely difficult. This is largely because of the absence of studies directly comparing different treatment options. This landmark study settles the question of whether or not cryoablation is as effective as radiation therapy and solidifies its role as a primary treatment for prostate cancer. It is a much needed milestone in the collection of high-quality information regarding prostate cancer treatments and men's health choices," Fahrer said.