Shorter Radiation Regimen Gets Same Results as Conventional Treatment

Researchers at the 2016 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium reported that a recent 2016 study found that prostate cancer radiation regimen that delivers less radiation over a shorter period of time still provides equivalent oncologic control for low-risk patients as does conventional radiation schemes. 

For the study, published last month in the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Genitourinary Cancers Proceedings, a supplement to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, 1,115 men with low-risk prostate cancer were randomly assigned to a conventional schedule (41 treatments over 8 weeks) or to a hypofractionated schedule (28 fractions over 5 weeks).   Baseline characteristics were similar between the two groups, including the patients’ age (median age 65) and pretreatment prostate specific antigen (PSA) scores. 

The primary purpose of the study was to determine if hypofractionated radiation therapy results in five-year disease free survival that is not lower than conventional radiation therapy by more than seven percent.  The study also looked at overall survival rates and patients’ biochemical recurrence, which is a rise in PSA levels following treatment. 

The study concluded that delivering radiation therapy in larger doses over a shorter time period results in similar rates of cure and side effects, compared to a longer treatment schedule for some men with low-risk prostate cancer. 

“The benefit of this demonstration is that we shorten the duration of therapy by more than two weeks,” said Sumanta Pal, MD, Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology at City of Hope.  “And that may relieve many burdens, including economic costs and time costs to the patient. One of the traditional challenges with radiation therapy in prostate cancer is that it is administered over such an extended period of time. It becomes a real challenge for patients who come from long distances for their radiation treatment and certainly might compromise compliance.” 

If you or a loved one is screened for prostate cancer and the disease is detected, be sure to fully inform yourself of your options, including a second opinion.  Cyberknife is an accepted treatment for prostate cancer and is delivered over a shorter period of time – 5 treatments vs. 28-41 treatments.  Contact Illinois CyberKnife to learn how we treat prostate cancer painlessly and noninvasively with the CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System, a painless, nonsurgical cancer treatment technology in which high-dose radiation is delivered to the tumor from a linear accelerator mounted on a highly maneuverable robotic arm.  Hundreds of different angles enable the radiation to be contoured to the shape of the prostate, resulting in treatment aimed directly to the prostate gland, avoiding nearby critical anatomy.