WEDNESDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- A combination of radiation and hormone therapy prolongs survival among men whose cancer has spread beyond the prostate, Canadian and U.K. researchers report.
These men have what is called high-risk, or locally advanced, prostate cancer. Among men with prostrate cancer, up to 25 percent fall into this category. In the past, these men have often been treated with hormone therapy alone, the researchers noted.
"In patients with locally advanced prostate cancer, combining radiation therapy plus hormonal therapy gives much better results than hormone therapy alone," said lead researcher Dr. Padraig Warde, deputy head of the Princess Margaret Hospital Cancer Program and a professor of radiation oncology at the University of Toronto.
"Specifically, it reduces the risk of dying from prostate cancer 43 percent and the risk of dying overall by 23 percent," he said, adding that this is the first study that shows that the combination of radiation and hormone therapy improves survival.
"These patients were often felt, in the past, to be incurable, because the disease has spread locally outside of the prostate, but not elsewhere in the body," he said. "But they shouldn't be discarded, we are showing that going for a cure is worthwhile."
Treatment options for patients with locally advanced prostate cancer are limited, Warde said. Most of these patients are not candidates for surgery because of the size of their tumors, he said.
The report was published in the Nov. 3 issue of The Lancet.
For the study, Warde's team randomly assigned more than 1,200 men with high-risk prostate cancer to hormone therapy alone or in combination with radiation.
After seven years, 66 percent of men who had hormone therapy alone were still alive, compared with 74 percent who received both hormone and radiation therapy. In the group of men w
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