May 8, 2006

Radiation OK for Younger Men with Prostate Cancer

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - New research suggests that radiation treatment does not compromise outcomes in younger men with early-stage prostate cancer, contrary to the belief that this approach is not a good option in this situation.

In the past, many doctors did not consider radiation therapy for younger men because they believed prostate cancer in this age group, even early-stage disease, was more virulent and demanded aggressive treatments, such as radical prostatectomy.

Recent reports, however, have suggested that younger men receive as much benefit from radiation therapy as do older men.

In the current study, reported in the medical journal Cancer, Dr. Andre Konski, from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues assessed the outcomes of 84 men, 55 years of age or younger, who were treated with radiation therapy for early-stage prostate cancer. These patients were compared with men between 60 and 69 years old and with men 70 and older.

The 5-year overall survival rate for the young group was 94 percent, comparable to the 95 percent rate seen in the 60-69 year-old group and the 87 percent rate in the oldest group.

Also, the percentage of patients whose cancer spread to other sites in the body was about the same in the three age groups -- approximately 3 percent.

"To our knowledge, the current study is the first to evaluate the outcome of men age 55 years and younger who are treated with external beam radiation therapy alone for localized prostate cancer," the authors state. The results suggest that their outcomes are comparable with those seen in older men.

SOURCE: Cancer, June 15, 2006.