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Backing for targeted radiotherapy for advanced prostate cancer

Monday October 22nd, 2018

Targeted radiotherapy for patients with advanced prostate cancer achieves significant improvements in survival rates, a conference heard yesterday.

The British-led trial is described as one of the largest clinical trials ever of prostate cancer treatment and involved about 2,000 patients.

The findings were reported to the conference of the European Society of Medical Oncology in Munich, Germany, and also published in The Lancet.

The randomised control trial tested the benefits of continuing to target radiotherapy on the primary tumour, the prostate, as well as standard treatment in metastatic disease.

The researchers found an 11% increase in survival after three years from the targeted treatment – from 70% to 80% - when disease had spread to bones or lymph nodes.

Researcher Dr Chris Parker, of the Royal Marsden Hospital, London, said: “Our results show a powerful effect for certain men with advanced prostate cancer. These findings could and should change standard of care worldwide.

“Until now, it was thought that there was no point in treating the prostate itself if the cancer had already spread because it would be like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. However, this study proves the benefit of prostate radiotherapy for these men.”

He added: “Unlike many new drugs for cancer, radiotherapy is a simple, relatively cheap treatment that is readily available in most parts of the world.”

Fellow researcher Professor Nicholas James, from Birmingham University, said: “Although survival times are improving, no one with advanced prostate cancer is cured of their disease by hormone therapy alone. These important results move the dial significantly further in terms of what we can do for this large group of men.”

Professor Charles Swanton, chief clinician of Cancer Research UK, which backed the trial, said: “This is a monumental finding that could help thousands of men worldwide.”

He added: “We now need to investigate whether this could also work for other types of cancer. If we can understand exactly why these men benefit from the additional radiotherapy treatment, we could hopefully use this approach to benefit even more patients.”

Parker et al. Radiotherapy to the primary tumour for newly-diagnosed, metastatic prostate cancer: A randomised controlled phase III trial (STAMPEDE). Lancet 21 October 2018

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)32486-3/fulltext

Tags: Cancer | Europe | Men's Health | UK News

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