Combination Therapy Increases Survival in Some Prostate Cancer Patients
Article date: July 21, 2011
By Stacy Simon
Combining hormone therapy with radiation can help some men with early-stage prostate cancer live longer, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers from the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group monitored the health status of nearly 2,000 men with low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer in the U.S. and Canada.
Researchers followed the men for up to 14 years after they entered the trial. The 10-year survival rate for men who received androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) combined with radiation was 62%, compared to 57% for men who received radiation therapy alone. Researchers also investigated whether the men died from prostate cancer or some other cause. They found 4% of the men who received ADT and radiation died of prostate cancer compared to 8% of those who received radiation alone.
Most of the men who lived longer with the combination therapy were in the intermediate-risk category. There was a 7% reduction in deaths at 10 years among this group compared to no reduction among men with low-risk prostate cancer.
The results may help doctors and patients better understand treatment options for men with early-stage cancer. Adding hormone therapy to prostate cancer radiation treatment can produce side effects in some men that include hot flashes and sexual side effects. Sometimes the side effects can last long after the treatment ends. Knowing how long a survival benefit to expect from the treatment can help a man decide whether it’s worth enduring the side effects.
Durado D. Brooks, MD, American Cancer Society director of prostate and colorectal cancer, says this study shows that men with intermediate risk disease may benefit from the combination treatment. They may lower their risk of the cancer spreading and lower their risk of dying. But they still have to decide whether it is worth it to them personally to withstand the side effects.
Lead researcher Christopher U. Jones, MD, says in the 17 years since the trial began, radiation therapy has improved, so that men are now able to receive higher doses of radiation with fewer side effects and better results. His research team is currently studying whether adding hormone therapy offers any additional benefit with modern radiation techniques.
Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff
ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases.
Citation: Radiotherapy and Short-Term Androgen Deprivation for Localized Prostate Cancer. Published in the July 14, 2011 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine (Vol. 365, No. 2). First author: Christopher Jones, MD, Radiological Associates of Sacramento, Sacramento, Calif.
Thank you for your feedback.