June 13, 2005
Delaying Radiation for Prostate Cancer Does Not Affect Outcome
For men diagnosed with prostate cancer, there is no risk of recurrence if external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is delayed by several months. A study published in the July 15, 2005 issue of CANCER (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/cancer-newsroom), a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, finds delays of EBRT had no harmful impact on clinical outcome or biochemical marker levels in low-, intermediate- and high-risk patients.
Prostate cancer is generally a slow-developing malignancy that affects older men. However, treatment is still important for survival and includes surgery and radiation. The forms of available radiotherapy include external beam radiation "“ 3D conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT), intensity modulated radiation therapy, or brachytherapy. Treatment delays of several months are quite common for men diagnosed with prostate cancer and can cause patients concern and anxiety.
While radiation treatment delays in other cancers are associated with increased mortality, little is known about the effect of delaying treatment on the outcome of prostate cancer. Stephen F. Andrews, D.O. and colleagues from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia reviewed the data from almost 1500 men treated for locally confined prostate cancer to investigate the effect of 3DCRT delay on outcome.
The investigators found that there was no difference in overall survival, disease specific survival, the incidence of distant metastases, and treatment failure for men who delayed 3DCRT more than nine months. Moreover, there was no difference in outcome for men with low-, intermediate-, and high-risk tumors who delayed treatment less than or more 3 months.
For men with locally confined prostate cancer, "patients and physicians can use this information to alleviate concerns and anxiety regarding delaying treatment in order to make a well-informed treatment decision," conclude the authors.
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