Reading time – 7 minutes


HIFU therapy is a non-invasive method of using ultrasonic waves that destroy the tumour tissue by intensive heating. The abbreviation HIFU stands for High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound. In oncology, this technology is used to treat cancer of the prostate, breast, uterine myoma, bone metastasis, soft tissue sarcoma, multiple myeloma, tumours of the liver, kidneys and pancreas. Read our article to learn more about the efficacy of HIFU therapy for different types of cancer and where it can be done.



HIFU efficacy in the treatment of prostate cancer

Эффективность HIFU в лечении рака простаты

Thousands of patient stories prove that prostate cancer is curable. Radiation therapy, radiosurgery and prostatectomy are the standards of treatment with survival rates exceeding 90%. However, after them, patients have a high risk of developing side effects in the intestines and genitourinary system. Treatment with high-intensity focused ultrasound can cure prostate cancer with less pronounced side effects.


HIFU for prostate cancer shows good long-term results. According to observations of French and German medical centres, the 10-year survival rate of patients after HIFU ranges from 92% to 99%.


The ultrasonic ablation procedure has side effects. The most common manifestations include incontinence, difficulties in urination, decreased erectile function. Studies by the French Association of Urologists (AFU) have shown that these side effects gradually disappear in 97% of patients.


The FDA has approved HIFU for prostate cancer treatment.

How does HIFU help patients get rid of bone metastases?

In the fourth stage of cancer, tumour cells penetrate the bones. Because of this, the person feels a lot of pain. The Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology has published an article in which doctors said that 67% of patients with metastases in the bones have decreased pain. In HIFU-therapy under MRI control, 87% of patients experience complete relief from pain. This allows them to do their daily tasks and improves their quality of life.


The main advantage of HIFU over cryotherapy and radiofrequency ablation is that it does not require surgery and is under local anaesthesia. Compared to radiation therapy, HIFU does not cause problems with the gastrointestinal tract.

Treatment of bone metastases with HIFU is FDA approved.

HIFU-therapy in the treatment of breast cancer

Mastectomy is a radical and reliable way to cure breast cancer. In stages 3 and 4, it is the only option to save lives. Although surgeons have achieved minimal risks of complications, such surgeries are traumatic for women psychologically. Organ-preserving surgery for hand cancer is risky to perform, as there is a high risk of relapse. The method of ultrasound ablation together with the removal of the tumour allows saving the breast without the risk of cancer recurrence.


The HIFU method showed good efficacy in the treatment of breast cancer. Dr Liming Guan observed the patients for 12 months after the therapy and didn’t find any recurrence of the disease or side effects.

In the clinics of Germany, Turkey, Spain and Israel it is possible to pass an improved version – HIFU-therapy with visual control. MRI-HIFU is a more precise method, which preserves more healthy tissue. According to the results of studies in 89% of patients the size of the tumour decreases by 65% during the first 6 months after MRI-HIFU. In 59% of patients, the tumour was destroyed by a focused ablation.

Side effects after breast cancer treatment with focused ultrasound included swelling in the area of radiation, fever, discomfort. Those reactions passed in 7 days after the treatment.

HIFU-therapy for breast cancer can be performed in European clinics, but it has not yet received FDA approval.

how does hifu therapy work


    How successful is HIFU therapy in the treatment of renal cancer?

    Surgery is considered the most effective treatment for renal cancer. However, removal of the renal tumour is an expensive treatment, and the risk of postoperative complications is found in 9 out of 100 patients. For this reason, focused ultrasound therapy is considered an alternative gentle treatment.


    A study conducted by Korean radiologist Wu and his team found that 50% of patients survived HIFU therapy for stage 4 liver cancer. They observed the patients for 18 months. In comparison, with conventional treatment, the 5-year survival rate of such patients is 8%.

    Predictions of pancreatic cancer treatment with HIFU-therapy

    More than 80% of patients with pancreatic cancer have advanced disease and are not suitable for surgery. Standard treatment options for non-surgical pancreatic cancer include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination thereof.


    The inclusion of HIFU therapy in this list can extend the life of the patient. At the same time, 81% of cancer patients have severe abdominal pain. The researchers called HIFU a safe and effective treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Does HIFU help cure primary and secondary liver cancer?

HIFU-therapy is recognized as an effective method for treating inoperable liver cancer. 44% of patients live for 5 years, if the cancer process was diagnosed at the 1st or 2nd stage, provided that the liver cancer was treated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The researchers at the Journal of Cancer found that 79% of patients successfully undergo HIFU sessions, after which the tumour begins to shrink. In 30% of cancer patients, the tumour is destroyed.


The disadvantage of HIFU is that 8% may have complications. These include obstruction of the biliary tract, pleural effusion, fistula formation, as well as burns, pain and fever.

Treatment with HIFU-therapy for liver cancer is possible in European clinics.

In which clinics is HIFU therapy available?


HIFU-therapy for cancer treatment is not available in all clinics. This is because the procedure is still under clinical trials in the USA and is not popular among patients. High-quality diagnostics to identify indications and contraindications to HIFU and conduct the procedure itself according to European standards requires high qualification of doctors. For this reason, the method is available in clinics where oncology treatment is highly developed:


hifu therapy for cancer treatment abroad



    иконка галочкиHIFU therapy is the treatment of cancer with high-intensity focused ultrasound. Its advantages over other methods are that it is non-invasive, does not require anaesthesia, causes fewer side effects and the result of treatment is faster. 

    иконка галочкиHIFU is FDA-approved for prostate cancer treatment. More than 92% of patients cross the 10-year survival threshold after focused ultrasound therapy. The procedure does not cause lasting side effects. 

    иконка галочки The combination of HIFU and organ-saving surgery is effective for breast cancer treatment. After MRI-HIFU the tumour is destroyed in 59% of patients.  

    иконка галочки HIFU therapy helps relieve pain in patients with bone metastases. In contrast to radiotherapy, it causes less pronounced side effects and improves the quality of life of the patient. Ultrasonic ablation for bone metastases is FDA approved.

    иконка галочкиIn liver cancer, HIFU reduces the tumour in 79% of patients. In 30% of cancer patients, the tumour is destroyed. 

    иконка галочки HIFU can be an effective treatment in the last stages of liver or pancreas cancer.  

    иконка галочки HIFU is available in the Turkish Liv Medical network the Israeli Ichilov medical centre, the Spanish clinic Quiron Torrevieja or Korean hospital Anam. 

MediGlobus coordination doctors will help you sign up at the clinic, which will be suitable in terms of location and cost. We will advise on which doctor is better to choose, which documents you need and how to open visas for medical travel. Leave your application on our website.

Efficacy of HIFU cancer treatment

Get a free consultation



  1. 1.Treatment of prostate cancer with HIFU
  2. 2. HIFU Approvals for Cancer Treatment
  3. 3. HIFU efficacy in prostate cancer
  4. 4. Results of HIFU treatment of breast cancer
  5. 5.The effectiveness of HIFU in treating cancer of the liver, kidneys, pancreas
  6. 6. Treatment of bone metastases with HIFU

Related posts

Surgery for lung cancer

Advances in Spanish medicine in cancer treatment

How is proton therapy performed at the Quironsalud Proton Therapy Center?