News | December 21, 2012

Shorter course of treatment more convenient, cost-effective for patients

For men undergoing proton therapy for prostate cancer, fewer treatments with higher doses appear to be well tolerated, according to early clinical trial results. The trial, which continues to enroll patients, is evaluating using only 5 proton treatments given over 2 weeks for patients with low risk prostate cancer, a fraction of the 44 treatments typical in an 8-week standard course of therapy.

Patients who underwent the short-course of treatment reported no change in pre-treatment gastrointestinal, genitourinary or sexual function 6 months after completing therapy; no change in hormonal status was noted. The study reported on the outcomes of the first 22 who have completed treatment; more than 45 patients have now been enrolled on the protocol.

“This early analysis shows that short-course treatment is well tolerated, a result we continue to see in additional patients who we have enrolled in the trial and who have completed their therapy,” said Dr. William Hartsell, medical director of the CDH Proton Center, A ProCure Center, in Warrenville, Ill. “Being able to successfully treat patients in just a fraction of the time is not only convenient for patients, it also translates into substantial cost reductions.”

The study, which is led by Dr. Hartsell, is being conducted in the suburban Chicago center as well as the ProCure Proton Therapy Center in Oklahoma City. Ten patients were treated over 1 to 2 weeks at a higher dose for 5 treatments; another 12 patients were treated over 8 to 9 weeks with a standard proton dose and 44-day course of treatment. Prior to undergoing treatment and every 3 months following, side effects were monitored using industry-standard, patient-reported outcome measurements.

Data on the trial were presented at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 98th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting.

Proton therapy for prostate cancer is clinically proven to be beneficial. Earlier this year, four studies, including one from ProCure, presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting showed that proton therapy successfully reduces treatment related side effects and helps maintain a high quality of life for men with prostate cancer. The studies found little to no decline in genitourinary and gastrointestinal function for men treated with proton therapy and a faster return to pre-treatment function compared to standard X-ray radiation therapy.

“The body of research showing the benefits of proton therapy for prostate cancer is growing,” Hartsell said. “There is evidence that proton therapy results in fewer side effects compared to standard X-ray radiation therapy. With more research into shorter courses of treatment, we will continue to see the cost of the treatment come down while still maintaining the same quality of life patients have come to expect.”

For more information: www.procure.com/il

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