Shorter Radiation Course Effective for Prostate Cancer

Hypofractionation effective in controlling prostate cancer recurrence

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

(RxWiki News) Standard radiation for treating cancer usually lasts a matter of weeks. Researchers are now finding that shortening that time has long-lasting benefits for prostate cancer patients.

Shorter, more intense courses of radiation known as hypofractionation have been found to effectively decrease the risk of prostate cancer returning.

"Ask about short-course radiation (hypofractionation) using IMRT to treat prostate cancer."

The schedules using hypofractionation delivers higher doses of radiation over a shorter period time to kill tumor cells, while sparing surrounding healthy tissue.

A new hypofractionation tool known as intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) is even more precise in targeting the cancer without damaging nearby tissue.

A total of 303 men with intermediate to high-risk prostate cancer participated in this study. They received either hypofractionated IMRT or conventional IMRT between during the study period - 2002 and 2006.

Participants were followed over five years to see if the cancer returned. High risk patients also were given hormone therapy for two years.

The hypofractionated IMRT compressed treatment time by roughly two and a half weeks and was just as effective as standard treatments for controlling moderate to high-risk prostate cancer, according to lead investigator, Alan Pollack, M.D., chairman of radiation oncology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami.

Side effects for both methods were similar; however, the hypfractionation group did have more urinary problems.

Dr. Pollack points out that hypofractionation is "rapidly gaining momentum for many types of cancers" and this study steps up abbreviating prostate cancer treatment time.

Results from this study are to be presented at the 53rdAnnual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

Research is considered preliminary before it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 30, 2011
Last Updated:
October 2, 2011