The publication date for this report is June 8, 2017, with a corrigendum issued on July 27, 2017. See Publication History for details.

Purpose of Technology: Cryoablation of the prostate gland provides a minimally invasive treatment option for the management of localized prostate cancer. The technique uses percutaneously inserted cryoprobes to freeze and, thereby, destroy cancerous prostate tissue. This outpatient procedure has been evaluated for patients with prostate cancer who prefer a less invasive option than prostatectomy or who are not appropriate surgical candidates.

Rationale: The goals of the minimally invasive cryoablation treatment for localized prostate cancer are to use focused cryoablation energy to ablate the entire prostate gland or the cancer-containing part of the gland and achieve complete tumor control to improve survival.

Controversy: Locally ablative therapies such as cryoablation may have less morbidity compared with other primary treatment options for localized prostate cancer; however, questions remain about the long-term efficacy for local and distant tumor control and survival.

Relevant Questions:

  • Does cryoablation provide effective local tumor control and acceptable rates of remission and long-term disease-free survival in patients with primary localized prostate cancer?
  • Does cryoablation provide acceptable outcomes with regard to patient-reported outcomes, including quality of life, urinary function, prostate symptoms, and sexual function?
  • How does cryoablation compare with other primary treatment options for localized prostate cancer, including active surveillance, radical prostatectomy, radiotherapy, and other therapies?
  • Is cryoablation safe, and what are the related complications?
  • Have definitive patient selection criteria been established for cryoablation treatment for primary localized prostate cancer?

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