Focused Ultrasound Therapy

Clinical Trials Square

Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with ovarian tumors. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling ovarian tumors to be treated without surgery. While focused ultrasound can treat multiple tumors, the major effort has been focused on ovarian cancer.

The primary options for treatment of ovarian cancer include medication and invasive surgery.

For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications and lower cost.


  • Focused ultrasound is noninvasive, so it does not carry added concerns like surgical wound healing or infection.
  • Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue.
  • Enhanced chemotherapy dose for the target, with less impact to the rest of the patient.
  • It can be repeated, if necessary.

Clinical Trials

A clinical trial is recruiting patients with solid tumors with metastatic lesions, including ovarian cancer, at the University of Virginia.

There is currently a clinical trial in Surrey, United Kingdom that is using focused ultrasound to treat ovarian cancer (as well as other pelvic tumors). 

Another clinical trial is underway in London, United Kingdom assessing focused ultrasound to treat ovarian cancer (as well as other advanced pelvic tumors), when all other treatment options are not available.

See a full list of ovarian tumor clinical trials >

Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement

Focused ultrasound treatment for ovarian tumors is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.

Notable Papers

Guo X, Mei J, Jing Y, Wang S. Curcumin-Loaded Nanoparticles with Low-Intensity Focused Ultrasound-Induced Phase Transformation as Tumor-Targeted and pH-Sensitive Theranostic Nanoplatform of Ovarian Cancer. Nanoscale Res Lett. 2020 Apr 7;15(1):73. doi: 10.1186/s11671-020-03302-3.

Obeidat RA, Aleshawi AJ, Obeidat HA, Al Bashir SM. A rare presentation of ovarian fibrothecoma in a middle age female: case report. Int J Womens Health. 2019 Feb 28;11:149-152. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S191549. eCollection 2019.

Gao Y, Chen S, Li W, Wang H, Xiao K, Wu L, Li Y, Li H, Li H, Zhu Y. An experimental study of ovarian cancer imaging and therapy by paclitaxel-loaded phase-transformation lipid nanoparticles combined with low-intensity focused ultrasound. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018 Sep 26;504(1):203-210. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2018.08.156. Epub 2018 Sep 1.

Brüningk SC, Ijaz J, Rivens I, Nill S, Ter Haar G, Oelfke U. A comprehensive model for heat-induced radio-sensitisation. Int J Hyperthermia. 2018 Jun;34(4):392-402. doi: 10.1080/02656736.2017.1341059. Epub 2017 Jul 5.

Yan S, Lu M, Ding X, Chen F, He X, Xu C, Zhou H, Wang Q, Hao L, Zou J. HematoPorphyrin Monomethyl Ether polymer contrast agent for ultrasound/photoacoustic dual-modality imaging-guided synergistic high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) therapy. Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 18;6:31833. doi: 10.1038/srep31833.

C. S. Muenyi, A. R. Pinhas, T. W. Fan, G. N. Brock, C. W. Helm, and J. C. States, “Sodium arsenite ± hyperthermia sensitizes p53-expressing human ovarian cancer cells to cisplatin by modulating platinum-DNA damage responses.,” Toxicol. Sci. : Off. J. Soc. Toxicol., vol. 127, no. 1, pp. 139–149, May 2012.

S. Wang, V. Frenkel, and V. Zderic, “Optimization of pulsed focused ultrasound exposures for hyperthermia applications.,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., vol. 130, no. 1, pp. 599–609, Jul. 2011.

S. Wang, V. Zderic, and V. Frenkel, “Extracorporeal, low-energy focused ultrasound for noninvasive and nondestructive targeted hyperthermia.,” Future Oncol., vol. 6, no. 9, pp. 1497–1511, Sep. 2010.

H. Matsumoto, “[Revisiting sensitization mechanisms in cancer thermochemotherapy].,” Fukuoka igaku zasshi = Hukuoka Acta medica, vol. 100, no. 4, pp. 95–103, Apr. 2009.

Click here for additional references from PubMed.

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