• cryoablation;
  • prostate cancer;
  • focal therapy;
  • salvage;
  • radiation therapy


  • To present the oncological and functional outcomes of salvage focal (SFC) and salvage total (STC) cryoablation for recurrent prostate cancer (PCa) after failed primary radiotherapy.

Patients and Methods

  • From March 2003 to August 2010, 50 men with biopsy-proven unilateral (n = 25) or bilateral (n = 25) radio-recurrent PCa underwent SFC or STC, respectively.
  • Patients were assessed after treatment by prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, transrectal ultrasonography, biopsy and questionnaires. Biochemical failure (BF) was defined using the Phoenix criteria (PSA nadir + 2 mg/mL).
  • Data were prospectively collected and retrospectively analysed.


  • The median pre-cryoablation PSA level and Gleason score were, respectively, 2.8 ng/mL and 7 for SFC, and 3.9 ng/mL and 7 for STC. The median follow-up was 31 and 53 months (P = 0.004) for SFC and STC, respectively.
  • Oncological outcomes were as follows: no patient died; one patient who underwent STC developed bone metastases; eight patients who underwent SFC and three who underwent STC had BF and the 5-year BF-free survival rates were 54 and 86%, respectively. In those patients without BF, the mean PSA decreased by 86% for SFC and 90% for STC within the first year and remained stable.
  • Functional outcomes were as follows: new onset urinary incontinence occurred in three (13%) patients in the STC group, whereas no patient in the SFC group developed incontinence (P = 0.10); Two of seven patients in the SFC group retained postoperative potency, but none of the four potent patients in the STC group recovered potency postoperatively (P = 0.48); one (4%) patient in the STC group developed a recto-urethral fistula, but none occurred in the SFC group (P = 0.48).


  • SFC and STC are feasible and safe with acceptable mid-term oncological outcomes. For carefully selected patients, SFC is an option that could be associated with lower treatment-related morbidity compared with STC.
  • Although longer follow-up and more patient numbers are needed, our initial oncological and functional outcomes of SFC and STC are encouraging.