News | November 16, 2006

Higher Doses of Radiation May Halt Spread of Prostate Cancer

New research suggests that men with prostate cancer who choose radiation therapy should seek treatment centers that will offer high-dose radiation. A new study from Fox Chase Cancer Center finds that higher doses of 74 to 82 Gray (Gy) greatly reduce the risk that the cancer will spread later — even 8-10 years after treatment.
"There is a comprehensive body of evidence demonstrating that prostate cancer treated with higher doses of radiation is less likely to grow back in the prostate or cause a rising PSA, and now, we know it is also less likely to spread later to other parts of the body," explained Peter Morgan, M.D., a resident in the Radiation Oncology Department at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
Generally, treatment centers that offer 3D conformal radiation therapy or a newer system of radiation delivery called IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy) treat men with the higher levels of radiation shown in this study to prevent the cancer's spread.
When asked how more radiation to the prostate protects the rest of the body from the cancer, Dr. Morgan replied, "That's what is so important about this work. We believe that the late wave of distant metastasis is due to the persistence of cancer in the prostate itself, which subsequently seeds tumor cells to other parts of the body. Because higher dose radiation more effectively kills cancer in the prostate, the source for future metastases is eliminated."

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