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Posted by on Feb 5, 2019 in Prostate cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study compared two types of radiation therapy in prostate cancer treatment. It concluded that brachytherapy (BT) is effective but may carry risks. 

Some background

Prostate cancer is an uncontrolled growth of the cells which make up the prostate gland. Prostate cancer can be treated by medication, surgery or radiation. Medication aims to kill the cancer cells chemically. Surgery aims to cut out the cancerous tissue. Radiation therapy uses radio waves to kill the cancerous tissue. 

There are a few different types of radiation therapy. Brachytherapy (BT) involves implanting a device which delivers the radiation directly to its target. External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) involves directing radiation beams at the target through the skin. Studies are being carried out to see which is more effective in high risk prostate cancers. 

Methods & findings

Databases were searched for studies comparing BT to EBRT. 3 studies were included. These studies looked at how long patients survived, safety and patient quality of life. 

Cancer-free survival rates were better in the BT group than the EBRT group. In one study, cancer free survival was 53% for the BT group and 30% for the EBRT group 14 years after cancer. Overall survival rates (whether patients had prostate cancer again or not) were similar between BT and EBRT groups. Reproductive and kidney system damage was similar between BT and EBRT groups. Damage to the stomach and intestines was similar between BT and EBRT groups. Quality of life was not assessed in all studies. Sexual function decreased. A decrease in physical and urinary function occurred in the BT groups. 

The bottom line

This study concluded that BT may be better than EBRT for prostate cancer. 

The fine print

The authors note that all of the studies used different BT techniques. This may affect the study's results. 

What’s next?

If you would like to know more about radiation therapies for prostate cancer, talk to you doctor. 

Published By :

Cancer Treatment Reviews

Date :

Oct 11, 2018

Original Title :

Brachytherapy versus external beam radiotherapy boost for prostate cancer: Systematic review with meta-analysis of randomized trials.

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