According to an article recently published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics, the combination of brachytherapy plus external-beam radiation therapy provides low rates of cancer recurrences at 15 years following treatment for early prostate cancer.
Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer among males in the United States. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that is located between the bladder and the rectum. It is responsible for forming a part of semen.
Early prostate cancer refers to cancer that may have spread from the prostate to nearby tissues but not to distant sites in the body. Standard treatment for early prostate cancer often includes radiation therapy.
Brachytherapy refers to “seeds” that emit radiation and are surgically implanted into and near the site of the cancer. External-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) refers to radiation that is delivered to a specified area from a machine outside of the body. Research has indicated that both forms of radiation therapy are effective treatment measures for patients with early prostate cancer; however, the optimal form of treatment for patients with this disease is still being evaluated.
Researchers from several medical institutions recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate the combination of brachytherapy plus EBRT in the treatment of early prostate cancer. This trial included 223 patients who were first treated with EBRT followed by brachytherapy. Follow-up was 15 years.
- Biochemical relapse-free survival (BRFS)-no two consecutive rises in PSA levels-was achieved in 74% of patients.
- BRFS was 88% among patients who were at a low-risk for developing a recurrence, 80% among patients who were at an intermediate-risk for developing a recurrence, and 53% among patients who were at a high risk for developing a recurrence.
The researchers concluded that treatment with both EBRT and brachytherapy provides impressive BRFS rates at 15 years following therapy for patients with early prostate cancer. Patients with early prostate cancer may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of all treatment options.
Reference: Sylvester J, Grimm P, Blasko J, et al. 15-Year Biochemical Relapse Free Survival in Clinical Stage T1-T3 Prostate Cancer Following Combined External Beam Radiotherapy and Brachytherapy; Seattle Experience. International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics. 2007; 67: 57-64.