March 28, 2023 – 11:48 PM
Therapy focuses specifically on the tumor and surrounding tissue
Radboudumc will receive 3.8 million euros for research in the context of Promising Care. It concerns a study into an innovative treatment for prostate cancer, in which the tumor cells are burned away or killed with electricity. The amount is made available by Zorginstituut Nederland and ZonMw. The study will start in the fall of 2023.
In the Netherlands, nearly 15,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. 90% of them are 60 years or older. There are various treatments, such as removal of the prostate through surgery or internal or external radiation. These therapies can lead to side effects such as incontinence, impotence and urinary problems.
A possible alternative treatment is focal therapy. This does not treat the entire prostate, but only the tumor and a margin around it. The prostate cancer cells are burned away or killed with electricity. The procedure takes place in the operating room using precise imaging techniques. The treatment is specific to the tumor and intended to limit damage to surrounding tissue.
Health insurers currently do not reimburse this treatment, because the method has not yet been proven effective. That is why the therapy has now been designated by the Care Institute as Promising Care. This means that an investigation into the effectiveness can start. The researchers specifically look at the quality of life and whether this treatment does not give worse results than the standard treatment. If the results are positive, the treatment qualifies for inclusion in the basic package.
Jurgen Fütterer, Professor of Image-Controlled Oncological Interventions at Radboudumc: “Previous foreign research shows that focal therapy is a safe option with good tumor control and few side effects. We now want to investigate this in the Netherlands as well, and reduce the risk of annoying side effects for future patients. In this study we investigate the effectiveness, complications and costs of focal therapy. We compare this with the current standard treatment.”
Michiel Sedelaar, urologist at Radboudumc: “Men with prostate cancer often have many years of life ahead of them. But those years are regularly accompanied by side effects such as incontinence, impotence and urinary and stool complaints. I hope that this treatment will lead to fewer side effects in certain groups of patients and therefore to a better quality of life.”
Eligibility for the study
Radboudumc is conducting this study in collaboration with the Isala hospital, St. Antonius Hospital, Amsterdam UMC and the HIFU clinic. Men with localized intermediate risk prostate cancer can participate who, according to current guidelines, are eligible for radical prostate removal or radiotherapy. In 356 participants, it is determined by lottery who receives the standard treatment and who receives focal therapy. The Effectiveness of focal therapy in men with prostate cancer (ENFORCE) study will start in the autumn of 2023. Registration for the study is not yet possible at this time.
About this grant
The Promising Care subsidy scheme is intended for relatively expensive care that appears to be effective. However, this care is not reimbursed from the basic package, because it has not yet been proven that the care is at least as effective as the usual treatment in the Netherlands. Through Promising Care, practitioners can carry out research into effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. By bringing promising care to the patient faster, ZIN contributes to more appropriate care. Zorginstituut Nederland implements the ‘Vebelpromissing Zorg’ subsidy scheme together with ZonMw, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.