Oncologist’s research recognised as among year’s best scientific work

A new study led by lead author Dr Amar Kishan of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), shows that men dealing with prostate cancer can have success with higher doses of radiation over a shorter time frame.

The study, published in the JAMA Network Open, said that men with low- or intermediate-risk prostate cancer can safely undergo higher doses of radiation over a significantly shorter period of time and still have the same, successful outcomes as from a much longer course of treatment.

“Most men with low- or intermediate-risk prostate cancer undergo conventional radiation, which requires them to come in daily for treatment and takes an average of nine weeks to complete,” said lead author Dr. Amar Kishan, assistant professor of radiation oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and researcher at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“That can be very burdensome on a patient and be a huge interruption in their life. With the improvements being made to modern technology, we’ve found that using stereotactic body radiotherapy, which has a higher dose of radiation, can safely and effectively be done in a much shorter timeframe without additional toxicity or compromising any chance of a cure,” he explained.

This type of radiation, known as stereotactic body radiotherapy, is a form of external beam radiation therapy and reduces the duration of treatment from 45 days to four to five days. The approach has been in use since 2000 but has not yet been widely adopted because of concerns over how safe and effective this approach would be in the long term.

Researchers have previously found that stereotactic body radiation therapy was more cost-effective because of the fewer treatments involved. Other research has also suggested psychological benefits such as less regret about undergoing treatment. The current study now provides long-term data regarding the safety and clinical efficacy of this approach.

Kishan said the data show that the majority of the men followed are free of prostate cancer seven years after treatment. He added that there was no evidence that this therapy caused worse toxicity in the long term. “In fact,” Kishan said, “we not only confirm that this method is both safe and effective, but we provide significant evidence that this could be a viable treatment option for men with low- and intermediate-risk prostate cancer.”

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