Thursday, August 18, 2016

Early radiation therapy after prostatectomy may forestall cancer spread

CANCER DIGEST – Aug. 17, 2016 – The return of PSA after surgery to remove the prostate is a disconcerting finding for any patient who has undergone such surgery. What to do about it has been controversial among oncologists; should patients undergo immediate radiation therapy or wait and see if the presence of prostate specific antigen (PSA) rises.

A new study by researchers at the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Cleveland Clinic and nine other institutions suggests that early radiation therapy in such cases reduces the chances that the PSA levels rise and the chance that the cancer will spread to another part of the body. The study was published online ahead of print in the Aug. 15, 2016 Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The study involved data from 2, 460 patients at 10 institutions who had been followed a median of 5 years, meaning half had been followed for less time and half had been followed for more time. All had no cancer in their nearby lymph nodes when they had their prostates removed. The median PSA was 0.5 ng/mL before radiation therapy after surgery.

When they looked at a variety of indicators of recurrence of cancer or spread of cancer they found that those who had radiation therapy while the PSA was at very low levels were less likely to have a rising PSA later on, and lower chance of the cancer showing up in other parts of the body.

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