High-dose radiation therapy as effective as surgery for aggressive prostate cancer

August 8, 2016, University of California, Los Angeles
Micrograph showing prostatic acinar adenocarcinoma (the most common form of prostate cancer) Credit: Wikipedia

A study by researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center provides convincing evidence that radiation-based treatments and surgery are equally effective treatments for aggressive prostate cancer. It also suggests that a particular form of radiation therapy, consisting of external radiation followed by brachytherapy (a type of radiation treatment in which a radioactive source is placed into the tumor directly) provides the best chance of preventing metastatic disease.

This study was the first of its kind to directly compare outcomes between radiation-based treatments and surgery for with cancers that are Gleason score nine or 10 (the highest score possible, which represents the most aggressive form of cancer).

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men in the United States, with nearly 180,000 new cases expected to be diagnosed in 2016 alone. Therefore, identifying the optimal for this malignancy is particularly important.

In the past oncologists suggested that surgery and radiation-based treatments offer equivalent outcomes. However, optimal treatment for prostate cancer patients remains controversial, in part because technologies and treatment strategies are continually improving. Both surgery and radiation-based treatments have vocal supporters and detractors within the medical community.

The relative efficacy of these treatments is particularly relevant for the most aggressive forms of prostate cancer, which will most likely lead to and eventually death. The aggressiveness of prostate cancer is dependent on many factors, one of which is the Gleason score—a grading system of how aggressive the disease appears under the microscope.

Researchers analyzed 487 prostate cancer patients treated for Gleason scores of 9 or 10 prostate cancer between 2000 and 2013 at UCLA, the California Endocurie Therapy Center and Fox Chase Cancer Center. Institutional databases were used to identify patients, and clinical follow up was obtained.

The findings only included advanced prostate cancer patients who were treated since 2000, because the standard of care for these patients has significantly changed over time, particularly for radiation-based treatments.

"Our study focuses on a particularly aggressive form of , and provides the largest series of outcomes for patients with this diagnosis who were treated in the modern era," said Dr. Amar Kishan, a chief resident in the department of radiation oncology at UCLA. "Our conclusions are relevant to both physicians advising patients about the effectiveness of different treatment options, and patients who would like to learn more about these options on their own."

The treatments received by patients included in the study are much more likely to be similar to treatments being offered to patients at various medical institutions across the world today.

Explore further: African-American men negatively impacted by hormone therapy for treatment of prostate cancer

More information: Amar U. Kishan et al. Clinical Outcomes for Patients with Gleason Score 9–10 Prostate Adenocarcinoma Treated With Radiotherapy or Radical Prostatectomy: A Multi-institutional Comparative Analysis, European Urology (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.eururo.2016.06.046

Related Stories

African-American men negatively impacted by hormone therapy for treatment of prostate cancer

August 4, 2016
In a retrospective study analyzing patients' medical records, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital found that patients' race significantly affected their longevity by increasing the likelihood of death after receiving ...

Patients with low risk prostate cancer on active surveillance experience good quality of life

July 25, 2016
Active surveillance (AS) has become an increasingly important alternative to surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment for men diagnosed with low risk prostate cancer. However, what is the impact of AS on health related ...

Study finds differences in care for patients with low-risk prostate cancer based on institution and region

July 13, 2016
Men with low-risk prostate cancer have a variety of treatment options because of the relatively benign nature of their disease. Among many factors that influence treatment decisions, the type of cancer center a patient visits ...

Study finds marker of aggressive prostate cancer

August 3, 2016
The level of a specific molecule present in prostate tumors is an indicator of whether the cancer is aggressive and likely to spread, according to new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Higher volume radiation facilities associated with better survival rates

March 16, 2016
New research finds improvement in overall survival rates among men with aggressive prostate cancer who were treated with radiation at a facility that frequently performs that treatment.

New findings concerning hereditary prostate cancer

July 11, 2016
It is a well-known fact that men with a family history of prostate cancer run an increased risk of developing the disease. The risk for brothers of men with prostate cancer is doubled. But a doubled risk of what, exactly? ...

Recommended for you

Study finds gut microbiome can control antitumor immune function in liver

May 24, 2018
Scientists have found a connection between bacteria in the gut and antitumor immune responses in the liver. Their study, published May 25 in Science, was led by researchers in the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) at the National ...

Low-fat diet tied to better breast cancer survival

May 24, 2018
(HealthDay)—Breast cancer patients who adopted a low-fat diet were more likely to survive for at least a decade after diagnosis, compared to patients who ate fattier fare, new research shows.

A cascade of immune processes offers insights to triple-negative breast cancer

May 24, 2018
Cancer is crafty. To survive and thrive, tumors find a way of thwarting our body's natural systems.

By forming clots in tumors, immune cell aids lung cancer's spread

May 24, 2018
University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have found that by helping to form clots within tumors, immune cells that flock to a particular type of lung cancer are actually building a foundation ...

Cancer cells co-opt pain-sensing 'wasabi receptor' to survive oxidative stress

May 24, 2018
Anyone who's taken a bite of a sandwich with too much spicy mustard or a piece of sushi with too much wasabi can attest to the tear-inducing sensation these condiments can cause. These loud warnings to the nervous system ...

Tumor cells evade death through in extremis DNA repair

May 24, 2018
Greater knowledge of the mechanisms that contribute to the survival of tumour cells is key to vanquishing them. The study published today in the journal Cancer Cell, headed by Angel R. Nebreda, ICREA researcher at the Institute ...

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.