Skip to content

Radiation vs. Advanced Prostate Cancer

Study Shows No Survival Advantage but Less Chance of Recurrence
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 15, 2006 -- Radiation therapy after surgery for advanced prostate cancer may lessen the chance of cancer return, though it may not raise survival rates.

That's according to researchers including Ian Thompson Jr., MD, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Thompson's team studied 425 men who had gotten surgery for advanced prostate cancer. The cancer was not metastatic (had not spread to other areas). The results appear in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers randomly assigned half of the patients to get radiation therapy. The other patients weren't assigned to get radiation therapy.

The men were followed for about 10 years, on average.

Survival rates were similar for both groups; radiation therapy showed no survival advantage.

About a third of the men who got radiation therapy died or were diagnosed with metastatic disease, compared with 43% of the men who weren't assigned to get radiation therapy.

The survival gap may have been due to chance, the study shows.

However, radiation therapy showed an advantage in preventing cancer's return.

The men who got radiation therapy were about half as likely to have their cancer return or to have a rise in their PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels.

High PSA blood levels can be a sign of recurrent prostate cancer after treatment.

Complications such as rectal bleeding were more common with radiation therapy.

Other studies on radiation and advanced prostate cancer are under way.

Meanwhile, the researchers say their study "may provide guidance" for doctors and patients considering treatment options for advanced prostate cancer.

Today on WebMD

man with doctor
Symptoms, risks, treatments
man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore
 
prostate cancer cells
What does this diagnosis mean?
doctor and male patient
Is it worth it?
 
cancer fighting foods
SLIDESHOW
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
FEATURE
 
Prostate Enlarged
VIDEO
Picture Of The Prostate
ANATOMY
 
Prostate Cancer Quiz
QUIZ
screening tests for men
SLIDESHOW
 
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
VIDEO
Vitamin D
SLIDESHOW