ASTRO: Hypofractionated RT more effective for high-risk prostate cancer

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Hypofractionated radiation treatment is more effective than conventional radiation therapy for preventing cancer growth in high-risk prostate cancer patients, according to a study presented at the 2009 American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) meeting in Chicago.

"The study not only shows that hypofractionated radiation improves the control of prostate cancer, but it also cuts the number of treatment visits in half for patients,” said the study's lead author Giorgio Arcangeli, MD, a radiation oncologist at the Regina Elena National Cancer Institute of Rome. “This is an important benefit for these high-risk patients, who are typically an older, less mobile population."

According to the researchers, the treatment arm received 3D conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT). Of the 168 patient cohort, the researchers treated a random selection with four weeks of daily hypofractioned radiation, as opposed to the typical eight- to nine-week daily radiation course of 3D-CRT.

The study found that those who were treated with hypofractionated 3D-CRT had an 8 percent higher chance that their cancer would stop growing compared with those treated with traditional 3D-CRT.

Arcangeli said that further studies, testing even shorter radiation treatments, are currently underway.  Moreover, there was no increased risk of negative side effects found later in patients that underwent hypofractionated radiation, according to the study.