High-Risk Prostate Cancers Respond Well to Low-Dose Brachytherapy, Study Finds
Low Dose Rate (LDR) Brachytherapy has been found to be an effective adjuvant treatment method for high-risk prostate cancers when combined with other treatment methods, new research has revealed.
Increasing Treatment Success
Brachytherapy is a treatment that involves the insertion of radioactive implants directly into prostate tissue. Implants with low dose rates, when combined with both androgen deprivation therapy and external beam radiation therapy, have found to have been highly successful in treating cT3a and cT3b, two highly aggressive strains of prostate cancer.
Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, led by Dr. Manuj Agarwal, followed 99 men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer for a span of seven years. Their results indicate that, when LDR brachytherapy was added to both external beam radiation therapy and androgen deprivation therapy, freedom from biochemical failure rates went from 65.2 percent to 73.5 percent.
Implications for Further Treatment
With such a statistically significant increase in freedom from biochemical failure rates when LDR brachytherapy is employed, the implications exist for further treatment of these specific types of high-risk cancers. With Dr. Agarwal noting in the study that the addition of LDR brachytherapy was found to be just as successful treating cT3a and cT3b strains, this new experimental LDR boost treatment might spell the difference for patients suffering from these types of prostate cancer.
There are, of course, limitations to this new study. A seven-year time period speaks in the favor of these results, but a sample size of just 99 patients is perhaps too small. It is likely that LDR boost therapy will need to be researched further in order to confirm the research team’s findings before it becomes a new standard treatment for cT3a and cT3b prostate tumors. Combined with the possible side effects of brachytherapy insertion, which can include incontinence, sexual dysfunction, and bowel incontinence, LDR boost therapy may not become as widespread a therapy option as a result of these issues.