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Backing for ultrahypofractionated radiotherapy

Monday April 23rd, 2018

Ultrahypofractionated radiotherapy is safe and effective for prostate cancer patients, a European conference will hear today.

A large randomised trial of the treatment in Scandinavia found no differences in outcomes for the treatment compared with standard radiotherapy.

Researchers say that ultrahypofractionated treatment offers huge advantages in saving patient time and in saving costs and releasing resources in the health care system.

It involves nine days of high-dose treatment over three weeks compared with eight weeks of daily treatment for normal radiotherapy.

Some 1,200 patients with medium or high-risk disease took part in the trial in Sweden and Denmark. The findings are being reported to the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology conference in Barcelona, Spain.

The research found five-year survival rates of nearly 84% for both treatments – and that long-term side-effects were the same for both treatments. However, the high-dose treatment was associated with more severe side-effects at the end of the course.

Researcher Professor Anders Widmark, of Umeå University, Sweden, said: “Ultrahypofractionated radiotherapy offers a number of practical benefits to patients as well as time and cost-savings for hospitals, so we wanted to test if it is as safe and effective as standard radiotherapy.

“Previous research has already shown that it’s possible to increase individual doses and give them over four to five weeks. Now we have shown that we can condense the therapy further, raising the dose at each hospital visit so that the whole schedule lasts only two and half weeks.”

He added: “This is the first large patient trial of this kind and it shows that ultrahypofractionated radiotherapy is just as effective as standard radiotherapy at stopping prostate cancer from returning.

“Importantly, it also shows that patients treated in this way do not suffer any more side-effects than those treated with conventional radiotherapy.”

Society president Professor Yolande Lievens said: “Advances in radiotherapy mean that we are better able to locate and target tumours while minimising damage to nearby organs. In prostate cancer, this can mean men retaining urinary and sexual function.

“This also means that we can consider giving higher individual doses over a shorter time, as in this study.

“Results of this trial suggests that ultrahypofractionated radiotherapy is equal to conventional radiotherapy. For patients, that could mean they have to spend much less time travelling to and from hospital for treatment.”

Abstract no: OC-0599, Ultrahypofractionation for prostate cancer: outcome from the Scandinavian phase 3 HYPORT-PC trial.

Tags: Cancer | Europe | Men's Health

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