Prostate Cancer Radiation Best on the Outside

External based radiation therapy treatment prostate cancer

(RxWiki News) There are several kinds of External Beam Radiation therapy (EBRT), and figuring out the differences in each can be overwhelming. Recent research has now outlined the major differences. 

In terms of lowering prostate cancer recurrence and side effects, researchers have found that intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) beat out conventional conformal radiation therapy (CRT) as well as the newest variation, proton beam therapy.

"Talk to your oncologist about what radiation therapy is best for you."

In a data analysis of 12,000 prostate cancer patients receiving radiation therapy over a five year period, those receiving IMRT had a slightly lower risk of gastrointestinal problems or hip fractures, and had the lowest rate of cancer recurrence when compared to the other forms of external radiation therapy.

However, IMRT was associated with a slightly higher risk of erectile dysfunction.

“Patients and doctors are often drawn to new treatments, but there have not been many studies that directly compare new radiation therapy options to older ones,” said senior author Ronald Chen, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of radiation oncology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and Research Fellow at the Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC.

The study was presented at the 2012 Genitourinary Cancer Symposium.

“Several trials have shown that higher doses of radiation therapy improve disease control, and it is likely that IMRT allowed a higher dose of radiation to be given to the prostate than conventional conformal radiation, resulting in improved cure rates while simultaneously reducing side effects due to less radiation being given to organs surrounding the prostate,” Dr. Chen said.

Results are considered preliminary until published in a peer reviewed journal.

Researchers did not report any financial conflicts of interest.