Prostate Cancer Survival Benefit From A Combination Of Androgen Suppression And External Irradiation

Disease-free survival from advanced prostate cancer could be almost doubled if hormone-suppression therapy is used during and after radiotherapy for a duration of 3 years, suggest authors of an international study in this week’s issue of THE LANCET.

Long-term survival after radiotherapy for people with advanced prostate cancer is poor. Michel Bolla from University Hospital, Grenoble, France, and colleagues investigated the added value of long-term male-hormone (androgen) suppression in locally advanced prostate cancer.

415 patients with advanced prostate cancer were randomly assigned radiotherapy or radiotherapy and immediate androgen suppression. Average follow-up time was five and a half years.

Patients given combined radiotherapy and hormone-suppression therapy had a substantially increased five-year disease-free survival rate (74%) than patients given radiotherapy alone (40%). Overall survival rates were 78% for combined therapy and 62% for radiotherapy alone.

Michel Bolla comments: “androgen suppression provides a means of improving the outcome of external irradiation alone, by possibly eliminating occult disease. Moreover androgen suppression and external irradiation appear to have an additive effect on local disease control by inducing apoptosis [tumour-cell death]”.

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