Shorter Course of Radiation as Effective as Longer Course in Low-Risk Prostate Cancer

A shorter course of hypofractionated radiation therapy, a treatment in which larger doses of radiation are delivered over a shorter time period than conventional radiation, appears as effective as longer courses for men with low-risk prostate cancer. These results were recently presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation (ASTRO).

Radiation therapy remains a critical treatment component among men with early-stage prostate cancer. Low-risk prostate cancer refers to cancer that has characteristics associated with a low probability of developing a recurrence.

Researchers from the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) recently conducted a clinical trial to compare a shorter course of hypofractionated radiation with the conventional longer-course radiation schedule for the treatment of 1,105 patients with low-risk prostate cancer.

Those assigned to the hypofractionated group received 5.6 weeks of radiation treatment, while those in the conventional group received 8.2 weeks of radiation treatment.

  • After approximately 6 years of follow-up, cancer-free survival was similar between the two treatment groups.
  • It is estimated that at 7 years of follow-up, cancer-free survival will be 82% for patients treated with hypofractionated radiation compared to 76% for those treated with conventional radiation.
  • Severe side effects were not increased with the hypofractionated radiation course.

Dr. W. Robert Lee, lead author of this study, stated that “The results of our study demonstrate that for men with low-risk prostate cancer, hypofractionated radiation therapy offers a shorter, more convenient treatment schedule without compromising cure or causing additional side effects.”

Reference: Lee, W.R, Sandler H, et al. NRG Oncology RTOG 0415: A Randomized Phase III Non-Inferiority Study Comparing 2 Fractionation Schedules in Patients with Low-Risk Prostate Cancer. Proceedings of the 57th annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiation (ASTRO). Presented at the plenary session on October 19, 2015.

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