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A high targeted dose of radiation therapy would help to control low-risk prostate cancer. This was found in a study carried out in the United Kingdom.

The study was presented at the 38th Annual Congress of the European Society of Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO), which took place from 26 to 30 April 2019 in Milan. A recent study showed that a single dose of radiation could be enough to cure the so-called "low-risk" prostate cancer. This research, undertaken in the United Kingdom by Dr Hannah Tharmalingam, tested a novel approach with a single, more powerful dose (1).


Brachytherapy: an efficient approach?

This technique comes from the Curie Institute. Curietherapy - also called brachytherapy - is a technique that involves placing radioactive sources inside the prostate gland. "These radiation dose decreases very quickly as we move away from these radioactive sources, which limits adverse effects on surrounding healthy tissues," says the Curie Institute. The benefits of this technique have just been confirmed by a team of English researchers. "Brachytherapy, which uses temporary catheters to directly impact cancer cells, has proven to be effective in the treatment of prostate cancer," says Dr. Hannah Tharmalingam.


No sign of recurrence after 2 years

441 men treated between 2013 and 2018 for prostate cancer were enrolled in the study. Patients were divided into 3 groups according to the probability of tumor progression: low-risk (44 men), medium-risk (285 men) and high-risk (112 men). All received a single high dose of radiation (19 Gy). While 166 of them received additional hormone therapy, none of the subjects in the study underwent surgery or chemotherapy and all were followed for 26 months after brachytherapy (1). "2 years later, there was no evidence of recurrence in 100% of the "low risk" group of progression, compared to 92% of men whose cancer was "high risk". After 3 years, this number dropped to 88% on average, with still 100% for the "low risk" group, compared to 75% for the "high risk" group (1)," says Dr. Tharmalingam.


Immediate treatment

For the researchers, "these results prove that high-dose rate brachytherapy is a safe, effective and immediate treatment for men with low-risk prostate cancer. More convenient for the patient, as it can be administered quickly during a single hospital visit. However, further research will be needed in medium- and high-risk patients to test the effects and possible efficiency of a higher dose.



(1) Tharmalingam H. et al. Single dose of targeted radiotherapy is safe and effective for prostate cancer. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2019.