Novel radiation therapy safely treats prostate cancer and lowers the risk of recurrence

A recent Phase I/II clinical trial has shown that a new combination of radiation therapies developed at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center escalates radiation doses to safely and effectively treat prostate cancer and lower the risk of recurrence with minimal radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissue and organs.

Recently published in the journal Brachytherapy, a novel treatment protocol designed by Michael Hagan, M.D., Ph.D., at VCU Massey Cancer Center, that combines intensity-modulated with high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy was tested on 26 prostate cancer patients. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy uses computer-controlled linear accelerators to modulate the intensity of an external to more accurately deliver radiation to tumors. HDR brachytherapy is an internal form of radiation therapy that uses small radioactive pellets implanted near the tumor.

"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," says the study's lead author Mitchell Anscher, M.D., Florence and Hyman Meyers Chair of 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."

The toxicity of the therapy was relatively low and all 26 patients were able to complete treatment. The treatment required only one HDR brachytherapy implant, and all participants were treated as outpatients. After 4.5 years, none of the patients relapsed and the rate of long-term side effects was low.

"Our goal is to improve outcomes for our patients, so we are continually researching ways to reduce unnecessary exposure to healthy tissues and make treatments shorter and more manageable. We're hopeful our findings will lead to better tumor control rates and fewer complications for men with prostate cancer," says Anscher.

Moving forward, the researchers plan to continue exploring prostate cancer therapies using higher dose rates and shorter treatment times. The next step will likely be a four-treatment study utilizing stereotactic body radiosurgery, a technique popular with brain cancer that provides higher accuracy and requires fewer treatments by focusing high-powered X-rays on a very small area.

More information: www.sciencedirect.com/science/… ii/S1538472111003564

Related Stories

Radiation therapy combo cures prostate cancer long-term

Jan 04, 2007

Seventy-four percent of men treated with a combination of radiation seed implants and external beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer are cured of their disease 15 years following their treatment, according to a study ...

Proton therapy effective prostate cancer treatment

Jan 05, 2012

Proton therapy, a type of external beam radiation therapy, is a safe and effective treatment for prostate cancer, according to two new studies published in the January issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology•Biology•Physics (Red J ...

Recommended for you

Blood biomarker may detect lung cancer

3 hours ago

A new study shows that patients with stage I to stage III non-small cell lung cancer have different metabolite profiles in their blood than those of patients who are at risk but do not have lung cancer. The study abstract ...

ACG: Recent increase in incidence of young-onset CRC

19 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The incidence of young-onset colorectal cancer (CRC) is increasing, and the disease is more aggressive pathologically. These findings are being presented at the annual meeting of the American ...

User comments