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Shorter Radiation Course for Men With Advanced Prostate Cancer: Safety and Efficacy


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A study led by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center found that shortening a traditional 45-day course of radiation to a 5-day course delivered in larger doses was safe and as effective as conventional radiation for men with high-risk types of prostate cancer. These findings were published by van Dams et al in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics.

Building on previous UCLA research published by Kishan et al in JAMA Network Open that provided significant evidence that a shortened regimen of radiation could be a viable treatment option for men with low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer, researchers decided to broaden the study to see if a shorter course would a viable option for men with aggressive disease.

Researchers analyzed data from 344 men with high-risk prostate cancer who were enrolled in a clinical trial from seven institutions across the globe, including UCLA. Minimum follow-up was 24 months, and the median follow-up was 49.5 months. This the largest dataset to date that looked at this type of treatment in men with more aggressive prostate cancers can help improve the overall quality of life for men with prostate cancer.

The findings show the 5-day regimen of stereotactic body radiotherapy, a form of external-beam radiation therapy that uses a higher dose of radiation, had an estimated 4-year biochemical recurrence–free survival of 81.7% and an estimated 4-year distant metastasis–free survival rate of 89.1%. Severe side effects were also rare. Around 2% of parents experienced urinary issues, and less than 1% had bowel side effects.

Conventional radiation, which requires daily visits for treatment, can be burdensome for many patients. Shortening radiation therapy from 6.5 weeks to 5 days is a significant advancement that may help improve the overall quality of life for men with prostate cancer.

The study authors concluded, “These data support a favorable toxicity and efficacy profile for stereotactic body radiotherapy for high-risk prostate cancer. Further prospective studies are needed to evaluate the optimal dose and target volume [in this context].”

Disclosure: The work was supported by an ASTRO-PCF Young Investigator Award. For full disclosures of the study authors, visit redjournal.org.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.
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