Prostate cancer focal therapy could improve costs and patient outcomes

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Every year, over 44,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in England

A study led by the National Institute for Health and Care Research’s Imperial Biomedical Research Centre has revealed that minimally invasive focal therapies for prostate cancer are more cost-effective and improve patient outcomes.

Every year, more than 52,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK, which occurs in the prostate gland.

Funded by Boston Scientific Corporation and published in the Journal of Medical Economics, the study involved Boston Scientific, Imperial College London (ICL) researchers and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Focal therapies, including cryotherapy and High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU), work to freeze and heat specific areas of cancer in the prostate, leaving normal tissue intact and avoiding damage to the surrounding nerves, blood vessels and muscles.

Researchers analysed data from over 1,300 patients treated at five hospitals between 2006 and 2018 to develop an economic model, comparing the costs and outcomes following focal therapy, prostatectomy surgery, or radiotherapy for up to ten  years after treatment.

They revealed that focal therapy, using either cryotherapy or HIFU, had a lower overall cost and a higher patient benefit in comparison to surgery or radiotherapy.

Focal therapy was associated with a lower risk of urinary, sexual and bowel side effects compared to prostatectomy surgery or radiotherapy.

Furthermore, focal therapy also improved patients’ quality-adjusted life years at a lower overall cost in comparison to radical prostatectomy or external beam radiotherapy.

Professor Hashim Ahmed, chair of urology at ICL and consultant urological surgeon at ICL Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Focal therapy represents good value for money in the NHS… [with] lower side effects and improved quality of life compared to traditional treatments [and] could benefit about 10,000 patients who are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK each year.”

Xavier Bertrand, vice president of peripheral interventions, Boston Scientific in EMEA, said: “The research findings are great news for patients and… the healthcare system… [and] could help to resolve the current disparities in the UK for patients with prostate cancer.”

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