Men with prostate cancer could be treated with a high dose of radiation in one session, new research suggests saving patients from multiple hospital visits.
The study, presented at the annual congress of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO), found that this technique is safe and effective for treating people with a low risk form of the disease.
The method has also been successful in treating some men with moderate and high risk prostate cancer, but more work is needed to improve outcomes.
The new treatment, known as high dose brachytherapy, delivers radiation through a set of tiny tubes directly to the tumor.
Brachytherapy is already used in some hospitals to treat patients, but as with most radiotherapy, it requires men to visit a hospital for a number of low dose treatment regimens during days or weeks.
In this new study, researchers at Mount Vernon Cancer Center in London and Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester studied 441 men with prostate cancer.
Men were categorized as having low, medium, or high risk of cancer spread, and all were treated with one high dose of radiation in British hospitals between 2013 and 2018.
While 166 also received hormone therapy, none of them had surgery or chemotherapy.
After two years, 94% of men did not show that the cancer returned according to the levels of specific prostate antigen (PSA), which may indicate the presence of the disease – in the blood, the researchers said.
After three years, 88% of men did not show any signs of cancer return, including 100% of men considered to be low risk, 86% in middle risk group and 75% in high risk group.
Researchers found that cancer returned to the prostate of 15 men and spread to other parts of the body in 10 others.
Dr. Hannah Tharmalingam, a researcher at the Mount Vernon Cancer Center and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, said treatment has few side effects and believes that the dose could be further increased in men with a greater risk of spreading the disease.
She said: "These results show that high-dose brachytherapy is a safe and effective treatment for men with low-risk prostate cancer, but further research is needed in moderate and high-risk patients to see if higher dose results can be improved. .
“This type of treatment offers an attractive alternative to surgery or other forms of radiotherapy because it has a relatively low risk of side effects.
"It is also a patient-friendly option because treatment can be given quickly on one visit to the hospital."
The research was presented at ESTRO 38 in Milan, Italy.
– Press association