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Volume 7, Number 4, 2002

Hormonal therapy combined with radiotherapy in locally advanced prostate cancer

Milecki P, Kwias Z.


At present radiation therapy and radical prostatectomy are considered to be the treatment of choice for clinical T1-T2 prostate cancer. In a more advanced stage of the disease (T3) 10-year overall survival is observed in approximately 40% of patients treated with conventional radiotherapy. So far only a few methods for improving the efficacy of radiotherapy have been introduced. One of them is a three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy with 3 dimensional treatment planning. These novel methods make it possible to escalate the dose to the target and protect healthy tissue at the same time. The optimal volume of irradiation, total dose, fraction dose, techniques of radiotherapy, and the end points used during the follow-up are open to debate. In recent years a few clinical trials involving hormonal therapy and radiotherapy have been carried out. The most important of these are: RTOG 8307, RTOG 8610, RTOG 9202, and EORTC 22863.

In the RTOG 8307 trial the comparison of outcomes of a combined treatment with a matched-control group of patients treated by radiotherapy alone has shown that adding hormonal therapy to radiotherapy resulted in a better outcome. Another trials RTOG 8531 and RTOG 8610 produced benefit due to the implementation of hormonal therapy in radiotherapy. The EORTC trial No. 22863 showed improvement in the 5-year overall survival when hormonal therapy after the completion of radiotherapy was continued for 3 years in the investigational arm. The RTOG 9202 study indicated benefit obtained from 2 years of adjuvant hormonal therapy.

The results of these trials have had a substantial impact on the management of locally advanced prostate cancer, but there are still questions that have to be answered. There is no doubt that hormonal therapy is an important component of the management of locally advanced prostate cancer. Still the optimal combination of drugs and the timing of such treatment remains controversial. Considering the potential side effects of a combined treatment on the quality of life of patients and care costs, additional properly designed randomised trials are needed to identify the subgroup of patients who will obtain the greatest benefit. Currently, it can be concluded that in the group of patients with a high risk of relapse by adding hormonal therapy to radiotherapy the outcome of treatment in patients with prostate cancer has improved.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2002; 7(4) : 157-163


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