Treatment planning for prostate focal laser ablation in the face of needle placement uncertainty




To study the effect of needle placement uncertainty on the expected probability of achieving complete focal target destruction in focal laser ablation (FLA) of prostate cancer.


Using a simplified model of prostate cancer focal target, and focal laser ablation region shapes, Monte Carlo simulations of needle placement error were performed to estimate the probability of completely ablating a region of target tissue.


Graphs of the probability of complete focal target ablation are presented over clinically relevant ranges of focal target sizes and shapes, ablation region sizes, and levels of needle placement uncertainty. In addition, a table is provided for estimating the maximum target size that is treatable. The results predict that targets whose length is at least 5 mm smaller than the diameter of each ablation region can be confidently ablated using, at most, four laser fibers if the standard deviation in each component of needle placement error is less than 3 mm. However, targets larger than this (i.e., near to or exceeding the diameter of each ablation region) require more careful planning. This process is facilitated by using the table provided.


The probability of completely ablating a focal target using FLA is sensitive to the level of needle placement uncertainty, especially as the target length approaches and becomes greater than the diameter of ablated tissue that each individual laser fiber can achieve. The results of this work can be used to help determine individual patient eligibility for prostate FLA, to guide the planning of prostate FLA, and to quantify the clinical benefit of using advanced systems for accurate needle delivery for this treatment modality.