Prostate Cancer Treatment May Be Better Than "Watchful Waiting" Option

The proton center at Loma Linda University Medical Center completed a ten-year study of 1255 men treated for prostate cancer during the 1990s. The study was published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology on June 1, 2004. Loma Linda analyzed results of proton radiation therapy for localized cancer, with emphasis on biochemical freedom and relapse. The overall biochemical disease-free survival rate was 73% for patients with higher PSAs, and was 90% in patients with initial PSA <4.0; it was 87% in patients with post-treatment PSA nadirs <0.50. Rates dropped with rises in initial and nadir PSA values. Patients with lower pre-treatment PSAs and lower post-treatment nadirs do better than the 73% average. Long-term survival outcomes were comparable with those reported for other treatment modalities intended for cure, and especially favorable to surgery with minimal morbidity/side effects. Conclusion: proton therapy at the reported dose levels yielded disease-free survival rates comparable with other forms of local therapy, with minimal morbidity. Dose-escalation strategies are being implemented to further improve long-term results.

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