Ten year prostate cancer trial proves optimal treatment duration

By Deb,

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Results from Australia’s and New Zealand’s biggest cancer trial have identified the best treatment regime for men suffering from newly-diagnosed aggressive but localised prostate cancer.

Professor Jim Denham, Calvary Mater Newcastle Department of Radiation Oncology Staff Specialist, headed Australia and New Zealand’s biggest cancer trial in identifying the best treatment regime for men suffering from newly-diagnosed aggressive but localised prostate cancer.

The RADAR study, run through TROG Cancer Research, of which Calvary Mater Newcastle was a trial site, compared the use of hormone treatment (longer versus short term use) coupled with radiation therapy.

This trial enrolled 1,071 men with locally advanced prostate cancer at 23 treatment centres across Australia and New Zealand, who were monitored over a 10-year period. All men received six months of testosterone suppression therapy, using the drug leuprorelin, followed by radiotherapy. Participants were then randomly allocated to have either an additional 12 months of testosterone suppression therapy (18 months in total) or no further treatment.

The trial found that the 18 months testosterone suppression therapy option plus radiotherapy emerged as the most effective, compared to the six month time period.

Professor Jim Denham said these findings showed a 30 per cent reduction in deaths due to prostate cancer as well as a 40 per cent reduction in cancer spreading (metastases) to other areas of the body.

“We also found that men who received the 18 months of treatment did not experience more side effects or impaired quality of life factors than those who received the six months of hormone treatment.

“The confirmation that quality of life in men treated on the RADAR trial was not inferior to quality of life outcomes in Australian men of the same age, 10 years after treatment, came from the 421 men who participated in our ‘Life ten years after prostate cancer treatment’ sub-study.

“Around 17,000 Australian men each year are diagnosed with prostate cancer and we are constantly looking at ways to beat this disease which sees so many men go undiagnosed for a long period of time.

“Thanks to this trial men with newly-diagnosed aggressive but localised prostate cancer can be spared the many long-term side effects associated with longer durations of testosterone suppression (28 to 36 months), which have commonly been used in conjunction with radiotherapy around the world,” said Professor Denham.

Seventy five year old Colin Sandeman was one of the men who volunteered to participate in the trial.

“I didn’t even hesitate when my doctor asked if I wanted to participate in this clinical trial. I had the 18 months of hormone treatment and the impact on my life was minimal.”

“I don’t think about having prostate cancer now. It’s in the past. I’m normal, and so many other blokes are too – they’re curing a lot of people,” Colin said.

Today, at the age of 75 Colin has returned to his normal life. He’s back into sailing and canoeing and tending to his beloved bees.

The results of this longitudinal study were recently published in the prestigious journal, The Lancet Oncology.

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