A New Combined Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer Is Safer and Offers Lower Risk of Reoccurrence

June 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

Researchers as the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center have come up with an new treatment for prostate cancer.

This treatment is still radiation therapy but it is based on the combination of the Intensity-modulated radiation therapy and high-dose rate(HDR)brachytherapy. Which means that patients would be treated using a combination of external radiation and internal radiation. The findings of this new research that has been published in the journal “Brachytherapy” was shown to lower the risk of recurrence and also minimize the chance that nearby healthy tissues and organs would be affected.

The following online post provides more details on this combined radiation therapy for prostate cancer:

A recent Phase I/II clinical trial has shown that a new combination of radiation therapies developed at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center escalates radiation doses to safely and effectively treat prostate cancer and lower the risk of recurrence with minimal radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissue and organs.

Recently published in the journal Brachytherapy, a novel treatment protocol designed by Michael Hagan, M.D., Ph.D., radiation oncologist at VCU Massey Cancer Center, that combines intensity-modulated radiation therapy with high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy was tested on 26 prostate cancer patients. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy uses computer-controlled linear accelerators to modulate the intensity of an external radiation beam to more accurately deliver radiation to tumors. HDR brachytherapy is an internal form of radiation therapy that uses small radioactive pellets implanted near the tumor.

“Recent studies have shown that both higher daily doses and higher total doses of radiation are better than standard doses in controlling prostate cancer, but these higher doses may be associated with higher rates of bladder and bowel complications,” says the study’s lead author Mitchell Anscher, M.D., Florence and Hyman Meyers Chair of Radiation Oncology and program co-leader of Radiation Biology and Oncology at VCU Massey Cancer Center. “Our study was designed to reduce radiation exposure to nearby healthy tissue and organs and we were pleased to find that this unique dosing schedule is safe and effective.”

The toxicity of the therapy was relatively low and all 26 patients were able to complete treatment. The treatment required only one HDR brachytherapy implant, and all participants were treated as outpatients. After 4.5 years, none of the patients relapsed and the rate of long-term side effects was low.

“Our goal is to improve outcomes for our patients, so we are continually researching ways to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure to healthy tissues and make treatments shorter and more manageable. We’re hopeful our findings will lead to better tumor control rates and fewer complications for men with prostate cancer,” says Anscher.

Moving forward, the researchers plan to continue exploring prostate cancer therapies using higher dose rates and shorter treatment times. The next step will likely be a four-treatment study utilizing stereotactic body radiosurgery, a technique popular with brain cancer that provides higher accuracy and requires fewer treatments by focusing high-powered X-rays on a very small area. Source.

This novel radiation therapy for prostate cancer promises better health and fewer risks for men with prostate cancer.

So far there has been significant improvement in the number of patients treated with the combination under the Phase I and II clinical trials. More support should be provided for the researchers in the next to be taken so as to get early validation as prostate cancer treatments.

High-Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy combined with Intensity-Modulated radiation therapy could be one of the best forms or radiation treatments against cancer of the prostate.

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