Combination Radiation Lowers Prostate Cancer Recurrence

Prostate cancer responds to IMRT and brachytherapy

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

(RxWiki News) Radiation therapy is often used at some point in treating prostate cancer. A recently published study finds that a combination of radiation therapies may be an effective treatment option that decreases problematic side effects.

Combining intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) with high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy is highly effective in treating prostate cancer.

This therapy may reduce the risk of recurrence and troubling side effects of other treatments.

IMRT is a computer-controlled technique that modulates the intensity of radiation delivered to the tumor. HDR brachytherapy involves implanting radioactive pellets close to the tumor.

"Find out exactly what kind of radiation you will be having."

A phase I/II clinical trial tested the novel protocol designed by radiation oncologist, Michael Hagan, MD, PhD at the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center.

"Recent studies have shown that both higher daily doses and higher total doses of radiation are better than standard doses in controlling prostate cancer, but these higher doses may be associated with higher rates of bladder and bowel complications," said study lead author, Mitchell Anscher, MD, Florence and Hyman Meyers Chair of Radiation Oncology and program co-leader of Radiation Biology and Oncology at VCU Massey Cancer Center.

"Our study was designed to reduce radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissue and organs, and we were pleased to find that this unique dosing schedule is safe and effective."

Participants experienced low levels of toxicity; all patients completed the study and only one HDR implant was needed.

None of the men had relapsed after 4.5 years and long-term side effects were low.

"Our goal is to improve outcomes for our patients, so we are continually researching ways to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure to healthy tissues and make treatments shorter and more manageable, said Dr. Anscher.

The researchers plan similar research that focuses on higher doses and shorter treatment times.

This research, supported by the National Cancer Institute, was published in a recent issue of Brachytherapy. No conflicts of interest were disclosed.

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Review Date: 
July 6, 2012
Last Updated:
December 20, 2012