For men with prostate cancer confined to the prostate gland, but also considered an aggressive type of cancer, often hormonal therapy will be recommended while undergoing radiation therapy to reduce levels of testosterone that feeds the cancer. The current hormonal treatment regimen is for 2-3 years after radiation therapy is completed. Hormonal therapy can produce unpleasant side effects such as erectile dysfunction, hot flashes, drops in bone density and muscle mass so there is a desire to reduce the amount of time men have to stay on these drugs.
The new study is seeking to determine if a shorter duration of hormonal therapy can produce the same outcomes as the 2-3 year treatment plan. Dr. Abdenour Nabid, an associate professor at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Canada recently presented the study’s finding at the 2013 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.
The study randomly assigned 630 prostate cancer patients to one of two groups. One group received radiation plus testosterone-lowering medication for three years; the other got the hormonal therapy for just 18 months.
Overall, there were no signs that the shorter therapy put men’s lives at risk. After 6.5 years, 77 percent of the men who got three years of hormonal therapy were still alive as were 76 percent of those who received the 18-month regimen.
The 10-year survival rates were also nearly identical, at just over 63 percent in both groups.
Initial results indicate 18 months may be sufficient as compared to treatment for the longer period. The study was well received and is considered preliminary until the data can go through peer review prior to future journal publication.
The physicians at Urology Care Alliance remain up to date on the latest advances in prostate cancer.