Radiotherapy plus hormone therapy cuts prostate cancer death in half, shows long-term study

Combination treatment more than halves mortality rates for prostate cancer, reports Norwegian health journal Dagens Medisin.

The figures were presented by Norwegian cancer researcher Sophie Fosså at an international conference sponsored by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in San Francisco this week.

By adding radiotherapy to the standard hormone treatment against , the 10 to 15 year survival rate for men with prostate cancer more than doubled, according to a long term follow-up study where Dr. Sophie Fosså is lead author. She is a professor at Oslo University Hospital in Norway.

Behind the study are Dr. Fosså and researchers from The Scandinavian Prostate Cancer Group.

"When this study started in 1996, the standard treatment was hormone therapy alone, but this trial continues to show that adding radiotherapy substantially boosts long-term survival," says Dr. Fosså.

"This combination more than doubles the 10-year survival rate and confirms that this approach should be a standard option for men with this type of prostate cancer who are expected to live at least another 10 years."

In all, 875 male patients from Norway, Sweden and Denmark participated in the study. Of these, 653 participants were Norwegians.

  • Among the 439 men who underwent hormone therapy alone, 118 died of prostate cancer.
  • Among the 436 who underwent the combination treatment, 45 died of cancer.
  • Among the patients that underwent only, the 10 and 15 year mortality rates were 18.9 percent and 30.7 percent, respectively.
  • Among those that underwent the combination treatment, the figures amounted to 8.3 percent and 12.4 percent, respectively.

The figures presented by Dr. Fosså at the ASCO conference are a follow-up to an earlier study published in The Lancet in 2009, in which Fosså and her colleagues demonstrate how radiotherapy in combination with hormone treatment reduced from 24 to 12 percent.

More information: "Endocrine treatment, with or without radiotherapy, in locally advanced prostate cancer (SPCG-7/SFUO-3): an open randomised phase III trial." Widmark A, Klepp O, Solberg A, et al. Lancet. 2009 Jan 24;373(9660):301-8. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61815-2. Epub 2008 Dec 16.

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