American Urological Association Releases Best Practice Statement on Cryosurgery for the Treatment of Localized Prostate Cancer

Cyrosurgery best practice achieved through rigorous panel consensus

New York, September 22, 2008 – When the American Urological Association (AUA) guideline on the Management of Clinically Localized Prostate Cancer: 2007 Update was published, insufficient information was available to include cryosurgery in the data analysis. Therefore, the AUA convened a panel of experts to develop the next level of evidence, a best practice statement, regarding the treatment of localized prostate cancer using cryosurgery. The panel reached a consensus that primary cryosurgery is an option for men who have clinically organ confined prostate cancer of any grade with negative metastatic evaluation. Clinicians using cryosurgery are advised to review this best practice statement, which is published in the November 2008 issue of The Journal of Urology.

A Best Practice Statement (BPS) uses published data in concert with expert opinion, but does not employ formal analysis of the literature. The panel, chaired by Richard J. Babaian, MD, Professor of Urology and Director, Prostate Cancer Detection Clinic, The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, carefully reviewed findings published in the medical literature from 2000 to 2008, shared their expert opinions and experience treating several thousands of patients and formulated recommendations. These recommendations were achieved through a rigorous consensus process.

Babaian and colleagues note that case selection is a primary factor. Larger prostates may make it more difficult to uniformly achieve cold enough temperatures and previous transurethral resection may be a contraindication. Cryosurgery is a minimally invasive option for men who either do not want to undergo or are not good candidates for radical prostatectomy because of comorbidities such as obesity or history of pelvic surgery. The authors also made recommendations for maximizing the results of cryosurgery, such as using rapid freezing thermocouples to monitor temperature and a double freeze cycle, and obtaining a nadir temperature of -40. Complications are outlined based on the available literature.

In the 1960s and 1970s, cryosurgery was performed with liquid-nitrogen probes. The freezing process was difficult to monitor and this led to many complications. As the technology improved, there has been a significant reduction in overall side effects, including urinary incontinence, rectal pain and urethral sloughing.

Panel Chair Richard J. Babaian and panel members write, “In summary, a review of the historical evolution of cryosurgery provides two overriding messages, the first being that there is evidence of therapeutic benefit, and the second, that treatment-associated morbidity has been reduced as technological refinements have emerged.”

The article is “Best Practice Statement on Cryosurgery for the Treatment of Localized Prostate Cancer” by Richard J. Babaian (Chair), Bryan Donnelly (Facilitator), Duke Bahn, John G. Baust, Martin Dineen, David Ellis, Aaron Katz, Louis Pisters, Daniel Rukstalis, Katsuto Shinohara and J. Brantley Thrasher. It appears in The Journal of Urology, Volume 180, Issue 5 (November 2008) published by Elsevier.

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Full text of the article featured above is available upon request. Contact Linda Gruner at (212) 633-3923 or email to obtain a copy. To schedule an interview please contact Dr. Richard J. Babaian at (713) 745-9600 or email

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Established in 1917, The Journal of Urology is the official journal of the American Urological Association. It is the most widely read and highly cited journal in the field. It brings to its readership all the clinically relevant information needed to stay at the forefront of this dynamic field. This top-ranking journal presents investigative studies on critical areas of research and practice, survey articles providing short condensations of the best and most important urology literature worldwide and practice-oriented reports on interesting clinical observations.

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