Washington: A new combination of radiation therapies developed 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, a new study has found.
A novel treatment protocol designed by Michael Hagan, from Virginia Commonwealth University 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 tumours.
HDR brachytherapy is an internal form of radiation therapy that uses small radioactive pellets implanted near the tumour.
“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,” Mitchell Anscher, lead author of the study, said.
“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,’ Anscher said.
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.
The study has been published in the journal Brachytherapy.