Cancer Therapies Battle Prostate Cancer

Androgen Deprivation Therapy plus radiotherapy improve advanced prostate cancer survival

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Prostate cancer that is confined to just the prostate is easier to treat than if it spreads to other parts of the body. New research shows combining two therapies can improve survival for advanced cancer that hasn't moved beyond the prostate.

Researchers from the Radiation Medicine Program at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, the MRC Clinical Trials Unit in London and the Cardiff University School of Medicine discovered that combining radiotherapy and Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) improved survival rates of locally-confined advanced stage prostate cancer compared with using ADT alone.

For the researchers, this should have an immediate affect on what type of therapy prostate cancer patients select.

"Consult your oncologist to see if combining ADT and radiotherapy is right for you."

ADT is a hormone treatment that stops testosterone from being produced in the body. ADT has been accepted as a way to treat advanced prostate cancer because tumors need testosterone to grow.

The side effects are severe due to the loss of testosterone and can include osteoporosis, weight gain and impotence.

The study included 1,205 patients who had stage III and IV localized prostate cancer or contained level 2 prostate cancer with either a high prostate-specific antigen (PSA) count (over 40 ng/mL) or a high PSA count (over 20 ng/mL) along with a Gleason score of 8.

The Gleason scale is used to determine the severity of prostate cancer by examining prepared prostate tissue taken from a biopsy. The higher the level, the more severe the prostate cancer.

For the study, 603 received both ADT and radiotherapy, and 602 only had ADT treatments. After six years, 320 patients had died from prostate cancer, 175 from the group only receiving ADT and 145 for the group receiving ADT and radiotherapy. Survival rates were also higher in the RT/ADT group over seven years when compared to patients who only received ADT.

Long term side effects and any serious complications were uncommon.

According to the study's researchers, this has an immediate impact on treatments advanced prostate cancer patients choose. Dr. Matthew R Cooperberg, Department of Urology, University of California, San Francisco commented on the study, saying that while it gives definitive evidence that ADT alone is not a sufficient treatment, it does not mean ADT and radiotherapy is the best possible treatment either.

Dr. Cooperberg says more research is needed to find the best possible treatment.

This study was published in the November edition of The Lancet.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 2, 2011
Last Updated:
November 5, 2011