A meta-analysis of trials of transurethral needle ablation for treating symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia

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To investigate the short- and long-term effectiveness of transurethral needle ablation (TUNA) of the prostate for clinical benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), using a meta-analysis of all clinical studies involving TUNA.


Data were extracted from two randomized trials, two non-randomized observational protocols and 10 single-arm studies conducted on TUNA, according to a determined protocol. The meta-analysis was based on the change in the mean score at the end of study from that at baseline. The estimation of the effects from the meta-analysis used a multilevel model including random effects for the studies.


In all studies the patients recruited had severe lower urinary tract symptoms and a mean International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) of > 20 before treatment. The effect of TUNA was to halve the mean IPSS at 1 year after treatment and, although there was a slight tendency for the IPSS to increase in all arms from year 1 to year 5, this decrease by half was maintained at 5 years. The maximum urinary flow rate (Qmax) also increased by ≈ 70% from baseline to 1 year and in virtually all studies the mean Qmax approached or exceeded 15 mL/s. Although there was a tendency for Qmax to decline slightly over time, the mean Qmax 5 years after treatment was > 50% over baseline.


This meta-analysis shows that TUNA is an effective and minimally invasive treatment for men with clinical BPH, even when the symptoms are severe. There is a significant improvement in symptoms and flow rate after 1 year which persists for at least 5 years. TUNA therapy would appear to be an alternative to surgery and an attractive option for men who do not wish to undergo long-term medical therapy, are poor candidates for surgery or are concerned about the side-effects of TURP.

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