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Early disclosure: Post-operative radiotherapy improves progression-free survival in prostate cancer

Immediate post-operative radiotherapy following surgery to remove the prostate results in improved progression-free survival for prostate cancer patients, according to the results of a study presented here today (Tuesday 26th October 2004) by Prof. Michel Bolla of CHU de Grenoble, Grenoble, France, at the 23rd Meeting of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiation and Oncology.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, but if it is detected early enough by individual (or mass) screening, the likelihood of cure is high. Surgical removal of the prostate (prostatectomy) is one of the standard treatments for localised prostate cancer. From 1992 onwards, radical prostatectomy was more frequently used for patients with early stage prostate cancer (e.g. those whose tumour is clinically inapparent / is found incidentally or where the tumour is palpable but confined within the prostate gland itself).

This randomised clinical trial investigated the effect of radiotherapy given within four months after prostatectomy versus a wait-and-see policy, following radical prostatectomy. Trial participants had no lymph node involvement and no metastatic disease but all displayed high risk factors for local disease recurrence (e.g. capsule perforation, positive margins or involvement of seminal vesicles). The trial ran from 1992 - 2001 and, following review by an independent data monitoring committee in December 2003 (with a median follow-up of 5 years), early disclosure of the trial results was recommended. These are the efficacy results from this trial.

Of the study group (1,005 patients), 503 men received 60Gy conventional external beam radiotherapy delivered over 6 weeks following radical prostatectomy, while the remaining 502 men received no radiotherapy following radical prostatectomy. The outcome was first measured by assessing the biological progression-free survival measured by the level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood (time to
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Contact: Stuart Bell
stuart@fecs.be
32-2-775-0207
Federation of European Cancer Societies
26-Oct-2004


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