High-dose radiotherapy did not improve survival for men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer but did improve biochemical control and rates of distant metastases, when compared to standard radiotherapy, shows results of a recent NRG Oncology study.
Prostate cancer patients who received higher-dose radiotherapy underwent fewer salvage therapies to control tumors that had grown larger or had spread to another body site; however, they also experienced more side effects than did men on the standard radiotherapy treatment arm.
This information will be invaluable for doctors and patients when deciding the best treatment course. Research efforts on this study were led by the Study Chair, Jeff M. Michalski, MD, of the Siteman Cancer Center at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. This analysis was published in JAMA Oncology and Dr. Michalski was recently interviewed by JAMA Oncology in a podcast regarding the publication.
"If we can safely deliver the higher dose of radiotherapy, my opinion is to do that," Michalski advised. "It does show lower risk of recurrence, which results in better quality of life. But if we can't achieve those 'safe' radiotherapy dose goals, we shouldn't put the patient at risk of serious side effects down the line by giving the higher dose. If we can't spare the rectum or the bladder well enough, for example, we should probably back off the radiotherapy dose. It's important to develop treatment plans for each patient on a case-by-case basis."