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OBJECTIVE: To determine whether primary extracorporeal high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is safe, feasible and effective for managing small renal tumours. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Although surgery currently remains the standard treatment for localized renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the increasing incidence of small renal cancers has led to a shift towards nephron-sparing surgery, with associated morbidity in 20-25% of cases, and minimally invasive ablative therapies present an alternative management. HIFU results in 'trackless' homogenous tissue ablation and when administered via an extracorporeal device, is entirely noninvasive. The study comprised 17 patients (mean tumour size 2.5 cm) with radiologically suspicious renal tumours who underwent extracorporeal HIFU using the Model-JC System (Chongqing HAIFU™, China), under general anaesthesia with one overnight hospital stay. Real-time diagnostic ultrasonography was used for targeting and monitoring. Patients were followed with a clinical review and gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging at 12 days and every 6 months for a mean of 36 months. The outcomes measures were patient morbidity and oncological efficacy of HIFU treatment. RESULTS: Of the 17 patients, 15 were treated according to protocol; two procedures were abandoned due to intervening bowel. There were no major complications related to HIFU. Radiological evidence of ablation was apparent at 12 days in seven of the 15 patients. Before the 6-month follow-up one patient had surgery due to persisting central enhancement. Fourteen patients were evaluated at the 6-month follow-up; eight tumours had involuted (mean 12% decrease in tumour area). Four patients had irregular enhancement on imaging and had alternative therapies. Ten patients remain on follow-up at a mean (range) of 36 (14-55) months after HIFU (mean 30% decrease in tumour area). There was central loss of enhancement in all. CONCLUSIONS: Renal HIFU achieves stable lesions in two-thirds of patients, with minimal morbidity, and might be appropriate in selected cases. Further trials with accurate histological follow-up are essential to fully evaluate this novel technique.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1004 - 1009


Aged, Carcinoma, Renal Cell, Feasibility Studies, Follow-Up Studies, High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Ablation, Humans, Kidney Neoplasms, Treatment Outcome