Advanced radiotherapy could safely deliver curative treatment, with 90% of patients still free from significant bowel and bladder side effects after two years
Advanced radiotherapy technology can safely deliver curative treatment for prostate cancer patients in as few as five sessions, with only minimal side effects, according to new research from The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research, London.
Chief Investigator Dr Nicholas van As is Medical Director and Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and Reader in Precision Prostate Radiotherapy The Institute of Cancer Research, London.
He said: “At The Royal Marsden and the ICR, we are focused on developing smarter, better and kinder treatments for patients across the UK and internationally. Developments in radiotherapy, such as SBRT, mean we can target tumours much more effectively.
“It is reassuring to see from this trial that SBRT does not significantly impact patients’ quality of life, compared with the current standard of care. Using SBRT to deliver this treatment would mean that patients could be spared numerous visits to hospital, allowing them to get back to their lives sooner.”
Dr Alison Tree, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and leader of the Uro-oncology Clinical Trials team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, who presented the data at ESTRO, said:
“Our aim was to understand whether we could safely increase the dose of targeted radiation per day, allowing us to reduce number of treatments required. We wanted to measure whether this could be done without changing the low level of side effects we see with modern prostate radiotherapy.
“When treating patients, we have to consider whether the higher doses in a shorter time period is the best option; the potential side effects are a critical factor in making this decision.
“This data has shown very promising results that suggest potentially curative prostate radiotherapy can be given with very few side effects for patients with stereotactic body radiotherapy over five days.”
Professor Emma Hall, Deputy Director of the Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, that co-ordinated the study, said:
"Now we know that longer-term side effects of SBRT are similar to those with standard radiotherapy. If we can also show that cancer control is no worse, then we expect our trial to be practice-changing."
Colin, 74, from Surrey, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March this year and received treatment through the PACE trial at The Royal Marsden. He was randomised into the group to receive SBRT and after just five treatment sessions on the CyberKnife, has been assured that his disease has been successfully eradicated.
Colin said: “My diagnosis was quite a shock and being told you need to have radiotherapy treatment is quite nerve-wracking, especially when you’re reading about all the different side effects that could happen. I feel really lucky to have had treatment which was over so quickly; it hasn't disrupted my quality of life, routine or really stopped me working at all.
“I have suffered no side effects and I feel absolutely brilliant to be told such good news about the treatment outcomes, which coincided with my 50th wedding anniversary –it was a double celebration that weekend!
“I was happy to pioneer and help by going onto this clinical trial and hope that it will benefit more patients like me. The Royal Marsden team are my guardian angels. I can’t thank them enough for what they have done for me.”
PACE is an umbrella of trials supported by funding from The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
The PACE-B trial was funded by Accuray, sponsored by The Royal Marsden, coordinated by the Clinical Trials and Statistics Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR-CTSU) and endorsed by Cancer Research UK. ICR-CTSU receives core programme support from Cancer Research UK and is accredited by the UKCRC and the NCRI. Further information on the trial can be found here.