A new study shows that higher doses of radiation do not improve survival for many patients with prostate cancer, compared with the standard radiation treatment. The analysis, which included 104 radiation therapy oncology groups across North America, was led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Past studies have shown that gradually escalating the radiation dose resulted in improved cancer control, such as slower tumor growth and lower levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), an indicator of cancer growth. The new study, published March 15 in JAMA Oncology, is the first that is large enough to examine whether these improved measurements translate into longer survival for patients.
“Our goal is to improve survival, but we didn’t see that despite advances in modern radiotherapy,” said first author Jeff M. Michalski, MD, the Carlos A. Perez Distinguished Professor of Radiation Oncology. “But we did see significantly lower rates of recurrence, tumor growth and metastatic disease — tumors that spread — in the group that received the higher radiation dose. Still, that didn’t translate into better survival. The patients in the trial did better than we anticipated, and part of that may have been because of improvements in metastatic
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