Fewer, larger radiotherapy doses prove safe for prostate cancer patients

December 13, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Less overall radiotherapy, delivered in fewer but higher doses, is as safe as standard, lower doses for treating prostate cancer, according to new research published in the Lancet Oncology today (Tuesday).

Data from the Cancer Research UK funded CHHiP trial - supported by the National Institute for Health Research and led by The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust - have been analysed by the ICR’s Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit.

A total of 457 with were recruited to examine the safety and side-effects of higher individual doses of radiotherapy on the bowel, bladder and sexual function. All high dose results were found to be similar to standard radiotherapy.

The men either received standard radiotherapy of 74 Gy over 37 days (2 Gy a day), 60 Gy delivered over 20 days (3 Gy a day) or 57 Gy delivered in 19 days (3 Gy per day). The next stage of the trial - which has recruited 3216 men in total - will compare outcomes in the different patient groups.

Professor David Dearnaley, lead investigator from the ICR and The Royal Marsden, said: “Earlier research suggests that prostate cancer cells may be more sensitive to higher individual doses of radiotherapy than other types of cancers. This could mean giving patients larger doses of radiotherapy per hospital visit, with fewer hospital trips and less radiotherapy needed overall. Our aim is to discover if this is the case and learn more about effective radiotherapy options for men with prostate cancer. This safety data is very pleasing and we are looking forward to the results of the next phase of the trial to see if this method ultimately offers patients better tumour control or fewer side-effects.”

Dr. Emma Hall from the ICR’s Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit said: “The finding that this treatment schedule is as safe as standard treatment has allowed us to expand the trial to include men from all over the UK. This is now the largest ever academic trial in prostate cancer with 3,216 men involved.”

Around 37,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the UK. More than 10,000 men die from the disease annually.  In the UK, radiotherapy is the most commonly used treatment to cure localised prostate cancer.

Kate Law, Cancer Research UK’s director, said: “Radiotherapy remains a mainstay of treatment for prostate and many other types of cancer. These results highlight important ongoing research which is looking to further refine radiotherapy, and to help ensure that men with prostate cancer are getting the best treatment possible.

“All men and their families would appreciate fewer trips to the hospital to receive treatment so we look forward to seeing the full results of this research. 2011 is the Year of Radiotherapy and it’s 100 years since Marie Curie won her second Nobel Prize for her work in this area. is, quite wrongly, often regarded as old-fashioned by the public. But there may be greater benefits for patients in the future as we continue to learn more about its effectiveness.”

Explore further: More aggressive treatment not necessary for men with a family history of prostate cancer

More information: Dearnaley, D., et al.(2011). Conventional versus hypofractionated high-dose intensity-modulated radiotherapy for prostate cancer: preliminary safety results from the CHHiP randomised controlled trial The Lancet Oncology DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(11)70293-5

Related Stories

More aggressive treatment not necessary for men with a family history of prostate cancer

October 5, 2011
Approximately 10-20 percent of prostate cancer patients have a family history of the disease. There are three major factors that are used to evaluate the extent and aggressiveness of prostate cancer, help make treatment decisions, ...

Researchers find that aspirin reduces the risk of cancer recurrence in prostate cancer patients

May 2, 2011
Some studies have shown that blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin, can reduce biochemical failure––cancer recurrence that is detected by a rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level––the risk ...

Queen's pioneers prostate cancer breakthrough

September 19, 2011
Scientists at Queen's University have pioneered a new combination treatment for prostate cancer. The treatment, which has been successful in phase one of trials, will now be tested for efficacy in a second phase.

Shorter radiation course for prostate cancer is effective in long-term follow-up

September 26, 2011
A shorter course of radiation treatment that delivers higher doses of radiation per day in fewer days (hypofractionation) is as effective in decreasing intermediate to high-risk prostate cancer from returning as conventional ...

Recommended for you

No dye: Cancer patients' gray hair darkened on immune drugs

July 21, 2017
Cancer patients' gray hair unexpectedly turned youthfully dark while taking novel drugs, and it has doctors scratching their heads.

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

July 19, 2017
The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.