Systematic Review of Focal and Salvage Cryotherapy for Prostate Cancer (2022)

Type of publication:Systematic Review

Author(s):Chin YF; *Lynn N

Citation:Cureus, 2022 Jun 28; Vol. 14 (6), pp. e26400

Abstract:Cryotherapy is one of the recognised ablative modalities for both primary and salvage therapy for prostate cancer. It presents an alternative, less invasive treatment for an organ-confined disease, improved preservation of surrounding tissue and a more suitable option for patients who are unfit for radical prostatectomy. Nevertheless, the currently available literature is relatively too scarce to provide definite conclusions regarding the treatment outcomes in cryotherapy. The present study aimed to review current oncological and survival outcomes in cryotherapy for primary and recurrent prostate cancer. Furthermore, this study aimed to establish the complications and functional outcomes of cryotherapy for prostate cancer. A literature search was performed on the PubMed, Cochrane and Google Scholar databases. Current guidelines and recommendations from the European Association of Urology were also reviewed. The search keywords used included 'Cryotherapy, Prostate Cancer', 'Cryoablation, Prostate Cancer' and 'Cryosurgery, Focal Prostate Cancer'. Truncations and Boolean operators were used with the keywords. All relevant studies from after 2015, including abstracts and non-English research assessing oncological and functional outcomes and complications, were included. Twenty-six studies consisting of 11,228 patients were reviewed. Fifteen studies assessed the outcomes of primary cryotherapy, whereas 11 studies reported the outcomes in salvage therapy. The patient's age ranged 55-85 years, and the pre-procedural prostate-specific antigen (PSA) ranged 0.01-49.33 ng/mL. A total of 2031 patients were classified to be at low risk, 2,995 were at moderate risk and 253 were at high risk on the D'Amico prostate cancer risk classification system. Follow-ups ranged from 9.0 to 297.6 months. The disease-specific survival rate was 65.5%-100.0%, overall survival was 61.3%-99.1%, the PSA nadir was 0.01-2.63 ng/mL and the overall biochemical recurrence rate was 15.4%-62.0%. The complications included erectile dysfunction (3.7%-88.0%), urinary retention (2.13%-25.30%) and bladder neck stricture/stenosis (3.0%-16.7%). The functional assessment showed a mixture of improved, unchanged or worsened post-procedural outcomes in primary therapy. This systematic review did not find significant differences in the cancer-specific, overall and biochemical-free survival rate between the primary and salvage cryotherapy cohorts. The most common complications encountered in both cohorts were erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, lower urinary tract/bladder neck stricture and infection. More prospective and double-arm studies are critically needed to provide guidance on the careful selection of patient cohorts for cryotherapy, whether for curative or salvage intent.

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