A clinical trial tests if hot water vapor can attack cancer cells, in new non-surgical approach to prostate cancer treatment

MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Saddleback Medical Center is the only location in Orange County – and one of only two in California – to offer a new, innovative way to treat prostate cancer patients with water vapor. This study, VAPOR 2, utilizes a minimally invasive and nonsurgical procedure that employs water vapor to target and destroy the walls of the cancer cells while minimizing damage to the surrounding healthy prostate tissue.

With the VAPOR 2 study, water vapor technology applies the thermal energy stored in a few drops of sterile water through a transurethral procedure – entering through the urethra – to get directly to the cancerous tissue. The heat from the water vapor destroys the cancerous cells by causing them to burst and die, while not harming the healthy surrounding tissue. This treatment does not require chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery; and as such, patients are not subjected to the harsh side effects that can come from traditional cancer treatments.

“If this trial shows positive results, it will be the first of its kind of prostate cancer care that doesn’t have the side effects of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery,” said Daniel Su, M.D., medical director, urology, MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center. “The VAPOR2 study utilizes a gentle and natural approach, by using water rather than chemicals to kill the cancerous cells.”

As the second most common cancer in U.S. men, the American Cancer Society estimates one in eight American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Prostate cancer is a serious disease often treated with therapies that cause complications, such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. This treatment offers men an opportunity to treat their prostate cancer with minimal to no side effects, that doesn’t impede their quality of life as they receive cancer care.

“We are hopeful that if this trial is effective, more men will be open to being screened in the first place,” says Dr. Su. “Many men hear prostate screening and don’t want to know the outcome because they are worried about the side effects, such as urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction. If this study is a success, we can attack the cancerous cells while mitigating those side effects.”

“We believe clinical trials are the front line in winning the battle against cancer,” says Elizabeth “Liz” Acord, vice president, clinical integration, MemorialCare Cancer Institute. “We are involved in more than 100 of the world’s most promising research protocols, including the VAPOR 2 Study.”

MemorialCare Cancer Institute is proud and committed to providing the highest quality, comprehensive care to help patients and their loved ones as they go through their cancer journey – offering a lifetime of cancer care. MemorialCare Cancer Institute multidisciplinary teams of oncologists, surgeons, nurses, social workers, and other specialists are highly skilled and experienced in the field of oncology. The care teams are passionate about prevention, early detection, and innovative cancer treatments, like the VAPOR 2 Study, utilizing the most advanced technology to deliver the best possible care.

To learn more about the VAPOR 2 Study, visit memorialcare.org/research.