Meeting Report: Focal Therapy and Imaging in Prostate and Kidney Cancer



The 12th International Symposium on Focal Therapy and Imaging in Prostate and Kidney Cancer was held February 9-11, 2020, in Washington, DC. The conference highlighted advances in the real-time image-guided diagnosis and treatment of prostate and kidney cancer. Its interactive scientific program included state-of-the art lectures, video demonstrations, and hands-on workshops delivered by a world-class faculty. The small sessions allowed ample opportunities for networking and exchanging opinions and experiences.

Research Presentations
Focused ultrasound treatment of prostate cancer was featured in several sessions of the meeting program, including:

Platforms and Performance of Focal Therapy – Talk with the Experts

  • Mark Emberton (United Kingdom)
  • Rafael Sanchez-Salas (France)

Focal Therapy Clinical Trial Updates

  • Dr. Rafael Sanchez Salas presented an update on the 18 currently registered focused ultrasound clinical trials in Europe for prostate focal ablation. Some of the latest data show that focused ultrasound retreatment is feasible with minor detrimental effects on urinary and erectile functions, and salvage therapy is efficient.
  • Dr. Christian Pavlovich presented results from Profound Medical’s TULSA-PRO ablation clinical trial (TACT) pivotal study, which enrolled 115 patients who were treated for whole gland ablation. TACT showed safety and efficacy, in terms of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) reduction, with very low side effects. Dr. Pavlovich also presented Profound’s early work on focal ablation: It has begun a treat-and-resect study in Finland. Data from the first eight patients are suggesting that the TULSA technology may also be safe and effective for focal ablation.
  • Prof. Vera Khokhlova from the University of Washington presented a new probe for performing boiling histotripsy in the prostate. It is similar to the current endorectal focused ultrasound probes but includes an imaging transducer. Preliminary preclinical experiments have been successful, and preclinical validation is ongoing.

Industry Representation
Focused ultrasound manufacturer EDAP TMS showcased its Focal One device and distributed a press release about their experience at the meeting. Other focused ultrasound manufacturers, Profound Medical and SonaCare Medical, were present to highlight their own devices for prostate treatments.

“The meeting included key discussions about the importance of follow-up protocols for ensuring the success of focal prostate treatment and for catching any early signs of recurrence,” said the Foundation’s Director of Applied Physics Research, Frederic Padilla, PhD. “In particular, complying with post-treatment biopsy protocols makes a difference in survival.”

Dr. Padilla added the following prostate treatment notes from the meeting:

  • Serum biomarkers, analysed over time, are being used for personalized risk prediction.
  • Genomic classifiers are being used for prostate cancer, and there are now commercial genomic assays for prostate cancer that are being performed on biopsy samples.
  • The use of focal therapy to treat localized intermediate risk prostate cancers seems to be gaining a lot of momentum. Physicians that did not use focal treatment five years ago declared they now use it in half of their patients.
  • In the future, the field will rely on improved imaging to guide both biopsy and treatment, including enhanced fusion imaging and virtual reality tools.