Prostate cryotherapy: Current status

Chad R. Ritch, Aaron E. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Minimally invasive options to treat low-risk prostate cancer are more desirable than radical therapy. Technological improvements in cryotherapy have increased its use, and long-term data on its efficacy are emerging. In this review, we discuss contemporary data on cryotherapy with specific focus on studies using the newest technology. Recent findings With respect to biochemical recurrence rates, cryotherapy appears to be as effective for low-risk prostate cancer as other treatment modalities. The definition of recurrence remains problematic, though contemporary studies are more consistently using both the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation Oncology and Phoenix criteria. Erectile dysfunction rates are universally high after whole-gland cryoablation, but incontinence and urethrorectal fistula rates appear to be low with third-generation cryo systems. Focal cryotherapy has encouraging short-term efficacy in terms of biochemical disease-free survival rate for unifocal disease, and rates of erectile dysfunction are dramatically lower than those seen with whole-gland cryoablation. Summary Cryosurgery has a promising role in primary and salvage treatment of select prostate cancer patients. Focal cryotherapy for unilateral disease offers the added benefit of minimal adverse effects. Long-term data are emerging to support cryosurgery, and large multicenter databases have been developed to answer questions regarding optimal treatment outcomes and patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-181
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent opinion in urology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cryosurgery
  • Focal therapy
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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