March 23, 2009

Shorter Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Five days of radiation could kill early-stage prostate cancer as well as longer, traditional methods, keeping patients out of their doctor's office longer.

Using a technique called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), researchers delivered higher doses of external beam radiation -- an effective technique that has a long treatment course -- every day for five days. They found over the course of study and a 33-month follow-up, none of the 41 men treated with SBRT had their cancer return. They reported similar side effects to traditional treatment methods, including urinary and rectal problems.

"There is great enthusiasm in reducing the length of treatment for prostate cancer while also possibly improving its effectiveness, and these early results are very promising for men with early-stage prostate cancer," Christopher King, Ph.D., M.D., an associate professor of radiation oncology at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, Calif., was quoted as saying.

Researchers caution the long term effects of SBRT need to be monitored, as late side effects can take as long as ten years to appear.

SOURCE: International Journal of Radiation Oncology, 2009