Short duration high-intensity radiation could be a new alternative to current long duration low dose radiation for treating prostate cancer. The recurrence rate of cancer was found to be similar in both methods. The results of this study are published in the journal of JAMA Network Open.
Men with low or intermediate-risk prostate cancer can safely undergo higher doses of radiation over a significantly shorter period of time and still have the same, successful outcomes as from a much longer course of treatment, according to researchers including one of Indian-origin.
The study showed that this type of radiation - stereotactic body radiotherapy - is a form of external beam radiation therapy, which reduces the duration of treatment from 45 days to four to five days with no evidence of causing worse toxicity in the long run.
"With the improvements being made to modern technology, we have found that using stereotactic body radiotherapy, which has a higher dose of radiation, can safely and effectively be done in a much shorter timeframe without additional toxicity or compromising any chance of a cure," said Kishan.
For the study, the team included 2,142 men with low or intermediate-risk prostate cancer who were treated with stereotactic body radiotherapy. They were followed for a median of 6.9 years.
Nearly, 53 percent of men had low-risk disease, 32 percent had a less aggressive intermediate-risk disease, and 12 percent had a more aggressive form of the intermediate-risk disease.
In addition, the recurrence rate for men with the low-risk disease was 4.5 percent, 8.6 percent for the less aggressive intermediate-risk, and 14.9 percent for the more aggressive intermediate-risk group, findings published in the journal JAMA Network Open showed.
Overall, the recurrence rate for intermediate-risk disease was 10.2 per cent.
These are essentially identical to rates following more conventional forms of radiation, which are about 4-5 percent for low-risk disease and 10 percent to 15 percent for the intermediate-risk disease.
This method is both safe and effective and could be a viable treatment option for men with low and intermediate-risk of prostate cancer, the study suggested.