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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Lower Dose of Radiation Works Just as Well in Treating Prostate Cancer, Researchers Say

"Hypofractionated" radiation therapy, using fewer treatments at a higher dosage with lower total radiation, could become the new standard of care for prostate cancer, a British researcher reports.

Professor David Dearnaley of the Royal Marsden, the world's first hospital dedicated to cancer treatment and research, presented data which showed that 20 treatments of 3 Gray units each was "not inferior" to the standard 37 treatments of 2 Gray units each for avoiding relapse of the cancer and extending life. Men can be subjected to fewer sessions and less radiation overall with equivalent results, Dearnaley says.

In the Royal Marsden study, 5-year remission rates were:


  • 85.9% in men given a total of 57 Gray units of radiation,
  • 88.3% in men given a total of 74 Gray units of radiation, but
  • 90.6% in men given a total of 60 Gray units of radiation.
5-year mortality rates were 8.6%, 8.1%, and 6.8%, respectively. From this, Dearnaley concluded 60 Gray units in 20 sessions was an optimal level of radiation.

The higher dosage per session resulted in greater rates of bowel complications during treatment, but lower rates of urinary incontinence two years out. Pretreatment with hormone therapy reduced the ris of both bowel and bladder complications two and five years after diagnosis.

For more information, see Medpage.

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