"This study with locally advanced prostate cancers has shown that adding [just] six months of hormone treatment to radiotherapy halves the numbers of deaths from prostate cancer in the next 10 years," Lamb said.
"Whilst there were already known to be benefits from short-term hormone treatment in this group of patients, this is the first trial to demonstrate the magnitude of long-term benefits. A 50 percent improvement in survival is a massive gain, and it was achieved with relatively few extra side effects for patients," he added.
Prostate cancer expert Dr. Anthony D'Amico, chief of radiation oncology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said this study validates his own research, which showed that six months of hormone therapy plus radiation prolonged survival.
"You get an overall survival benefit when you add six months of hormone therapy to radiation in men with high-risk prostate cancer," he said. "Six months of hormonal therapy with radiation is a valid treatment option with high-risk prostate cancer."
Men may choose to have longer hormone treatment, D'Amico said. However, survival will probably only marginally improve, and there is a risk for heart problems with the prolonged use of hormone therapy, he said.
For more information on prostate cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.
SOURCES: David Lamb, M.B., F.R.C.P., director, Prostate Cancer Trials Unit, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand; Anthony D'Amico, M.D., Ph.D, chief, radiation oncology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; March 24, 2011, The Lancet Oncology, online
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