Combo Treatment May Be Answer to Prostate Cancer

Androgen deprivation therapy combined with radiotherapy to treat prostate cancer may boost survival

(RxWiki News) A simple equation may lead to a longer life for prostate cancer patients: androgen deprivation therapy plus radiotherapy equals longer survival for those diagnosed with prostate cancer.

A new study found that androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) combined with radiotherapy (RT) boosted survival in prostate cancer patients.

Justin E. Bekelman, MD, of the Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted this study. They looked at men between the ages of 65 and 85 — the age group most prone to prostate cancer.

Dr. Bekelman and team wrote that this study suggests that "ADT plus RT reduces both overall and cause-specific mortality in patients with locally advanced prostate cancer."

In a press release, Dr. Bekelman said that "Patients and their physicians should carefully discuss curative treatment options for prostate cancer and reduce the use of hormone therapy alone."

Cancer is a mass of cells that grow rapidly in a variety of tissues and organs, such as the prostate. The prostate is a male-only organ used in sperm production. ADT can often effectively treat prostate cancer.

In ADT, doctors use medications or surgery to suppress male hormones like testosterone that have been linked to prostate cancer. In this study, researchers combined RT — the use of radiation to target certain cancers — with ADT to test whether the treatments would be more effective together.

These researchers studied more than 31,000 prostate cancer patients. Some patients received ADT and others received ADT plus RT.

Patients in this study who received the combo treatment were more likely to survive than patients who only received ADT, Dr. Bekelman and team found. Among patients who were 76 to 85 years old, those who received both treatments were about half as likely to die from their prostate cancer.

This study was published Jan. 5 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Study author Dr. Elizabeth A. Handorf received research funding from Pfizer. Study author Dr. Robert G. Uzzo was a speaker for Pfizer and Janssen.

Review Date: 
January 6, 2015