New research has found that androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), when combined with radiotherapy, is most effective for a period of around 18 months when treating prostate cancer.
Pinning Down the Optimal Time Frame
ADT is one of the most common treatments for locally advanced prostate cancer, especially when undertaken in conjunction with external-beam radiotherapy. Yet the exact amount of time for a patient to spend undergoing ADT has for many years been up to interpretation; doctors and scientists knew that it worked, but minimum (and maximum) treatment cycles were highly variant.
But new research into the optimal time frame for ADT, when combined with radiotherapy, has revealed what may be the most effective length of time for patients to undergo treatment. Scientists have discovered that an 18-month cycle of ADT and radiation therapy was much more effective in reducing mortality rates than a much shorter 6-month cycle, with an effective size difference of around 30 percent.
Pinning Down the Duration
This hasn’t been the first research study of its kind that has attempted to pin down optimal ADT duration times. An older study, which sought to determine the best timeframe for patients to tolerate medium to long-term ADT, found that the most tolerable length of time for androgen deprivation therapy was around 18 months when weighed against the possible health benefits of the treatment. In fact, that study found that treatment periods over 18 months had no further benefit and perhaps even made things worse for a patient.
Truth be told, “standard” ADT treatment timelines can range from between 6 months at the shortest to 36 months at the longest, dependent on the aggressiveness of a patient’s prostate cancer. With the side effects of androgen deprivation well-documented and often distressing, it makes sense for doctors and patients alike to strive for a balance point where the benefits of treatment aren’t outweighed by the possible drawbacks. This new study helps pin down that point in a more definitive manner.
Good News For Anyone Facing ADT
All of this research adds up to good news for anyone who’s facing a round of ADT and is worried about what they’re going to experience as a result. Setting maximum treatment time at 18 months ensures you’ll receive the maximum benefit from the treatment while minimizing the impact of any possible side effects. Knowing that you’re not going to be asked to withstand the treatment any longer than that is a major reassurance