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Published on June 05, 2008

University of Colorado Cancer Center Leading New Clinical Trial Researching the Latest Treatment for Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Study offers hope to prostate patients whose cancer returns following radiation

AURORA, Colo. (June 5, 2008) – Each year approximately 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States and according to estimates from the National Cancer Center Database 29 percent are treated with radiation. Roughly one-third of those treatments will fail. Currently, there are few options for prostate cancer patients whose cancer returns after radiation. Surgery is often considered too invasive and repeating radiation is difficult due to the resistance of the cancer. Now, the University of Colorado Cancer Center is the lead institution in a nationwide clinical trial to determine if, following radiation, a freezing method can halt the advance of cancer in patients with recurring prostate cancer.

Salvage cryoablation, or freezing a recurrent cancerous tumor that is persisting in the prostate gland, is a minimally invasive procedure that takes about two hours and is considered an outpatient procedure for most patients (no hospitalization is required).

“The salvage cryoablation procedure has already shown promise in treating prostate patients with recurrent cancer,” said E. David Crawford, MD, primary investigator of the study, professor of Surgery and Radiation Oncology at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine and associate director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center. “It is estimated that as many as 300,000 men in the United States have recurrent prostate cancer and it is our hope that many of those men will be eligible and choose to participate in this clinical trial to help to determine the long-term outcomes of this treatment.”

Cryoablation involves the destruction (ablation) of prostate cancer cells by freezing the prostate gland. Using computed tomography (CT) or ultrasound images as a guide, the physician inserts a slender cryoprobe through the skin and places the probe into or near the cancerous tissue. The cryoprobe then transmits intense cold to the cancer cells while deadening the nerves that cause pain.

The University of Colorado Cancer Center and eight other leading academic institutions are participating in the SCORE (Salvage Cryotherapy Registry Evaluation) Study, a nationwide effort to collect data that will be entered into a national registry which physicians can use to publish findings and educate patients and other physicians about the benefits and risks of this treatment. The 800-patient study is being led by Dr. Crawford and Al Barqawi, MD, both of the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

“This is an exciting new treatment which is an alternative to hormones, surgery or watchful waiting in some men with recurrent cancer after failing radiation therapy,” added Crawford.

Both clinical and “quality of life” data for participating patients will be collected. Clinical data refers to the characteristics of a patient’s prostate cancer (including PSA level, Gleason score, clinical tumor state, etc.). Quality of life data refers to the impact the cancer is having on lifestyle, including such issues as urinary and sexual function, bowel habits, etc. Real-time data will be collected and stored at

The University of Colorado Cancer Center is the Rocky Mountain region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. Headquartered on the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colo., UCCC is a consortium of 14 Colorado institutions and organizations dedicated to cancer care, research, education, and prevention and control. For more information, visit

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Tonya Ewers