In a nutshell
This study aimed to evaluate ultra-hypofractionated radiation therapy (UHFRT). This study found that UHFRT is safe and effective in the treatment of prostate cancer.
One option for the treatment of prostate cancer is radiation therapy. Conventional radiation treatment (CRT) involves using small doses of radiation 5 times a week for 6-8 weeks. A newer radiotherapy option is ultra hypo-fractionated radiation therapy (UHFRT). This involves a shorter course of treatment (2-3 weeks) with larger doses of radiation delivered in each treatment.
It is unclear if it UHFRT as effective as CRT in patients with prostate cancer.
Methods & findings
This study included 1200 patients with prostate cancer. 602 patients had CRT. 598 had UHFRT. They were evaluated using PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels. This is a blood marker that can be used to track the progression of prostate cancer. Patients were followed up for an average of 5 years.
84% of patients in both groups did not have a recurrence of cancer 5 years after treatment. There was a similar overall survival rate after 5 years between the CRT (96%) and the UHFRT (94%) groups.
There was a small increase in side-effects in the UHFRT group. This included urinary symptoms such as burning. At 1 year follow up this occurred in 6% of UHFRT patients as compared to 2% of CRT patients. There was no difference in bowel side-effects.
The bottom line
This study found that UHFRT is safe and effective in the treatment of prostate cancer.
The fine print
Side effects of radiation therapy can occur after 10 or 15 years. Longer-term studies are needed to evaluate the long-term safety of these therapies.
Published By :
Lancet (London, England)
Jun 18, 2019
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