Prostate Artery Embolization Is Less Invasive Choice For BPH Treatment Interview with:

Dr. João Martins Pisco, MD PhD Hospital St. Louis, International Prostate Medical Center Lisbon, Portugal

Dr. João Martins Pisco

Dr. João Martins Pisco, MD PhD
Hospital St. Louis, International Prostate Medical Center
Lisbon, Portugal What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is one of the most common prostate problems occurring in men older than 50. According to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 14 million men in the U.S. had symptoms suggestive of BPH, which can affect 50 percent of men between 51 and 60 years of age and up to 90 percent of men older than 80. A few years ago, Dr. João Martins Pisco developed the minimally invasive treatment, known as prostate artery embolization, to treat BPH. The study that Dr. Pisco presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology on March 8 is the first of its kind – a study with 1,000 patients with long-term efficacy data.

Between March 2007 and March 2016, Dr. Pisco and his team performed PAE on 1,000 men who averaged 67 years of age. All patients were evaluated in the short term (one, three, and six months), 807 patients were seen through the medium term (every six months between six months and three years), and 406 patients were evaluated long term (every year after three years).

During each evaluation, the men’s symptoms were measured by the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), which tests for the blockage of urine flow, and the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), which assesses erectile dysfunction. Researchers also measured the size of the prostate and the amount of urine left in the bladder after urination. They also evaluated the peak urinary flow rate and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level, a test used to screen for prostate cancer.  What are the main findings?

Response:  The data from these measures revealed at the short-term mark that the treatment had an 89 percent cumulative success rate—measuring the success across all variables through the given testing period. The 807 men evaluated at the medium-term mark had an 82 percent success rate. And of the 406 patients measured at the long-term mark, 78 percent were considered cumulative successes.

In an additional analysis, researchers found that among 112 patients who also suffered acute urinary retention (AUR) before undergoing PAE, 106 or 94.6 percent had their catheter removed between two days and three months after treatment. At medium-term and long-term follow up, 95 of the 112 (84.8 percent) and 89 of the 112 (78.5 percent) did not experience any recurrence of their AUR.

The team also performed PAE in 210 patients who had limited treatment options due to extreme enlargement of the prostate (larger than 100 cm³). Of these men, 84 percent experienced cumulative success at short-term evaluation and 76.2 percent at medium- and long-term. The normal size of a prostate is 15 cm3 to 30 cm3. What should readers take away from your report?

Response:  Prostate artery embolization gives men with BPH a treatment option that is less invasive than other therapies and allows them to return to their normal lives sooner. Time and time again, Dr. Pisco has seen patients who are relieved to find out about PAE because they are not able to tolerate medications for BPH due to their side effects. These men also don’t want traditional surgery because it involves greater risks, has possible sexual side effects, and has a recovery time that is relatively long compared to PAE, which is generally performed under local anesthesia and on an outpatient basis.

Prostate artery embolization should also be presented to patients who are exploring options to resolve their BPH.

That said, PAE may not be appropriate for all patients, such as those with advanced arterial atherosclerosis that may be due to smoking or diabetes. Patients should speak with an interventional radiologist or other members of their care team to discuss treatment options. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: As a next step, Dr. Pisco and his team are now conducting a study comparing the effectiveness of PAE to a sham – or placebo—treatment to address any possible placebo effect that may have occurred during Pisco’s research with these 1,000 patients. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Prostate artery embolization is a safe and effective treatment and these data demonstrate the efficacy of the therapy in the long term. It’s important that patients know about this therapy as they explore how to resolve their BPH. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Society of Interventional Radiology abstract discussing:

Prostate artery embolization for BPH

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on March 15, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD