Jefferson Researchers Report First Evidence Of Radiation Therapy Preventing Prostate Cancer Patients From Dying

d patients according to their risk of dying from the disease.

Dr. Valicenti, a member of Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center, and his co-workers at Jefferson, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Southern California, McAuley Health Center in Ann Arbor, MI, and Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia examined patients' Gleason scores. The Gleason score is a way of grading the pathology of a cancer cell. Undifferentiated or poorly differentiated cells are more abnormal and characteristic of more aggressive cancers. The higher the Gleason score, the poorer the patient's prognosis.

They evaluated these scores and the varying radiation doses patients in four separate studies had received. They found that overall, patients with the highest Gleason scores (between 8 and 10, on a scale of 2 to 10) who should have had the worst prognoses and who received a higher radiation dose, had better local control of their cancer, and were more likely to be disease-free and alive longer.

"Radiation therapy provides an overall survival benefit for clinically localized prostate cancer for those with a Gleason score between 8 and 10," Dr. Valicenti says. "Those less than 8 didn't experience an observable advantage with followup to 12 years.

"We were happy to see improvement of local control with higher radiation doses," he says. "This would suggest in part that the disease-free survival advantage is attributed to improved tumor control."

The work was funded in part by the National Cancer Institute.

The prostate is a walnut-sized, male sex gland located below the bladder and directly in front of the rectum. During intercourse, it produces a thick fluid that helps force sperm through the urethra and out of the penis.

Since 1990, the reported new cases of prostate cancer have more than tripled, from less than 100,000 annually to more than 300,000, owing to better detection and greater public

Contact: Steve Benowitz
Thomas Jefferson University

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