Salvage cryotherapy (or cryosurgery or cyroablation) is a minimally invasive treatment that may be used after radiation treatment for prostate cancer has failed.
Gases (such as liquid nitrogen or argon/helium) are used to freeze and destroy the cancer. Some physicians now use a “brachytherapy-like” approach to administer treatment.
Based on case reports (not a large-scale study), Ismail et have suggested that a man may respond better to salvage cryoablation if his:
Some men may also receive hormone therapy for a few months prior to treatment.
Can it help?
Cancer recurrence rates following salvage cryosurgery have been reported to range from 34% to 68%.
A big challenge is that there is really no consensus among physicians about how to define treatment failure.
Clinical study data
Looking at data collected from the COLD (Cryo On-Line Data) Registry, Pisters et al reported 5-year biochemical disease-free rates of:
Ten-year survival rates
In a 10-year study (Cheetham et al), researchers looked at the medical records (called a retrospective study) of 76 men who had:
After 10 years:
In another study, Williams et al reported an 87% overall 10-year survival rate.
Questions to ask the doctor about salvage cryotherapy
An earlier study of 106 men that was reported by Han et al showed that:
Due to better monitoring equipment and modification of this
technique, incontinence rates have dropped dramatically from what they
Impotence rates, however, continue to remain high (60% to 80%).
The salvage cryotherapy procedure is just like regular cryosurgery. Learn more.
Finley D, Belldegrun A. Salvage cryotherapy for radiation-recurrent prostate cancer. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3090573/. Accessed March 29, 2015.
Ahmed S, Lindsey B, Davies J. Salvage cryosurgery for locally recurrent prostate cancer following radiotherapy. Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. 2005;8:31–35.
Cheetham P, Truesdale M, Chaudhury S, et al. Long-term cancer-specific and overall survival for men followed more than 10 years after primary and salvage cryoablation of the prostate. J Endourol. 2010 Jul;24(7):1123-9.
Han KR, Cohen JK, Miller RJ, et al. Treatment of organ confined
prostate cancer with third generation cryosurgery: preliminary
multicenter experience. J Urol. 2003;170(4 Pt 1):1126-30.
Ismail M, Ahmed S, Kastner C, et al. Salvage cryotherapy for
recurrent prostate cancer after radiation failure: A prospective case
series of the first 100 patients. BJU Int. 2007;100:760-764.
Moul JW, Banez LL, Freedland SJ. Rising PSA in nonmetastatic prostate cancer. Oncology. 2007;21(12):1436-1454.
Pisters LL, Rewcastle JC, Donnelly BJ, Lugnani FM, Katz AE, Jones JS. Salvage prostate cryoablation: initial results from the cryo on-line data registry. J Urol. 2008;180(2):559-63; discussion 563-4.
Always consult a medical professional.