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Increased radiation dose does not increase long-term side effects for prostate cancer patients
Date:3/16/2010

Boosting the radiation dose given to prostate cancer patients to a level that cut tumor recurrence in half did not increase the severity of side effects reported by patients up to a decade later. The study led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center researchers also found that patients characterized the impact of continuing side effects on their quality of life as considerably less bothersome than would be expected, based on earlier studies. The article appears in the March 17 cancer issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"A surprising number of men who reported symptoms that had bothered other patients surveyed before or soon after prostate cancer treatment described their current symptoms as normal," says James Talcott, MD, SM, of the Center for Outcomes Research at the MGH Cancer Center, who led the study. "If this result is seen in other groups, it may alter how we describe the long-term impact that patients should expect on their quality of life."

The current study is based on a survey of participants in trial conducted in the late 1990s at MGH and at the Loma Linda University Medical Center in California. That study compared the results of two different radiation doses for treatment of early-state prostate cancer. All participants received an equal dose of conventional X-ray therapy and a booster dose of proton therapy that brought the total dose to either the then-standard level of 70 Gy or to 79 Gy, which is now the usual dosage for similar tumors. Proton therapy reduces the amount of radiation delivered to normal tissues in front of and behind a tumor, and the X-ray therapy was also given in a way to minimize the irradiation of normal tissues.

The earlier study showed that, five years after treatment, the higher radiation dose had reduced tumor recurrence by about half, a benefit that persisted up to nine years after treatment. Participants' physicians reported similarly low
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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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