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Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Note: Some citations in the text of this section are followed by a level of evidence. The PDQ editorial boards use a formal ranking system to help the reader judge the strength of evidence linked to the reported results of a therapeutic strategy. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Levels of Evidence for more information.)


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What Causes Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer affects mainly older men. Four out of five cases are diagnosed in men over 65, but less than 1% in men under 50. Though uncommon, prostate cancer can be seen in men even in their 30's and 40's. Men with a family history of prostate cancer are more likely to develop prostate cancer than the general population. On a case-by-case basis, doctors cannot say with certainty what causes prostate cancer, but experts generally agree that diet contributes to the risk. Men who consume large...

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In prostate cancer, the selection of further treatment depends on many factors, including previous treatment, site of recurrence, coexistent illnesses, and individual patient considerations. Definitive radiation therapy can be given to patients who fail only locally following prostatectomy.[1,2,3,4] An occasional patient can be salvaged with prostatectomy after a local recurrence following definitive radiation therapy;[5] however, only about 10% of patients treated initially with radiation therapy will have local relapse only. In these patients, prolonged disease control is often possible with hormonal therapy, with median cancer-specific survival of 6 years after local failure.[6] Cryosurgical ablation of recurrence following radiation therapy is associated frequently with a high complication rate. This technique is still undergoing clinical evaluation.[7]

Most relapsing patients who initially received locoregional therapy with surgery or radiation therapy will fail with disseminated disease and are managed with hormonal therapy. The management of these patients with stage IV disease is discussed in the preceding section.

Painful bone metastases can be a major problem for patients with prostate cancer. Many strategies have been studied for palliation, including pain medication, radiation therapy, corticosteroids, bone-seeking radionuclides, gallium nitrate, and bisphosphonates.[8,9,10,11] (Refer to the PDQ summary on Pain for more information.) External-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) for palliation of bone pain can be very useful. A single fraction of 8 Gy has been shown to have similar benefits on bone pain relief and quality of life as multiple fractions (3 Gy � 10) as seen in the RTOG-9714 trial, for example.[12,13][Level of evidence: 1iiC] Also, the use of radioisotopes such as strontium chloride Sr 89 has been shown to be effective as palliative treatment of some patients with osteoblastic metastases. As a single agent, strontium chloride Sr 89 has been reported to decrease bone pain in 80% of patients treated [14] and is similar to responses with local or hemibody radiation therapy.[15]

A multicenter randomized trial of a single intravenous dose of strontium chloride Sr 89 (150 MBq: 4 mCi) versus palliative EBRT in men with painful bone metastases from prostate cancer despite hormone treatment showed similar subjective pain response rates: 34.7% versus 33.3%, respectively. Overall survival (OS) was better in the EBRT group than in the strontium chloride Sr 89 group (P = .046; median survival 11.0 vs. 7.2 months). No statistically significant differences in time-to-subjective progression or in progression-free survival were seen.[16][Level of evidence: 1iiA] When used as an adjunct to EBRT, strontium chloride Sr 89 was shown to slow disease progression and to reduce analgesic requirements, compared with EBRT alone.[17]


WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: May 16, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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