Radiation vs. Advanced Prostate Cancer
Study Shows No Survival Advantage but Less Chance of Recurrence
Nov. 15, 2006 -- Radiation therapy after surgery for advanced prostate
cancer may lessen the chance of cancer return, though it may not raise survival
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
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
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)
High PSA blood levels can be a sign of recurrent prostate cancer after
Complications such as rectal bleeding were more common with radiation
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