Monday, January 5, 2015

Older prostate cancer patients survive longer with radiation plus hormone therapy

CANCER DIGEST – Jan. 5, 2015 – Adding radiation to hormone therapy saves more lives among older men with locally advanced prostate cancer than hormone therapy alone, a new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology shows.

The researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania examined radiation treatment and hormone therapy in the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Medicare database. The researchers found that hormone therapy plus radiation reduced cancer deaths by nearly 50 percent in men aged 76 to 85 compared to men who only received hormone therapy.

Two previous landmark clinical trials have shown that radiation plus hormone therapy produces a large and significant improvement in survival in younger men relative to hormone therapy alone, but until now there has been no comparable research on treatment for older men with advanced prostate cancer.

Penn’s research team compared the combination of radiation and hormone therapy versus hormone therapy alone among 31, 541 men with prostate cancer ranging in age from 65 years to 85 years. 

Among men age 65 to 75 years old, the combination therapy was associated with a reduction in prostate cancer deaths of 57 percent relative to hormone therapy alone. After 7 years 9.8 percent in the combination group survived compared to 4.4 percent of patients in the hormone only group. Similarly, among men age 76 to 85 years old, 9.8 percent of those in the radiation plus hormone therapy group survived compared to 5.0 percent of those who only received hormone therapy. That is 49 percent increase in survival for those treated with the combination therapy.

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