December 29, 2008 - A combination treatment of prostate cancer can cut death rates in half, according to results from a Scandinavian study published in the Dec. 16 online issue of The Lancet.
These positive results may help bring European oncologists in line with practice in the U.S., where such therapy has been used for many years. In the study, which involved 875 men, half were treated with a combination of radiation therapy and hormone-deprivation therapy and the other half received hormone therapy alone. At the end of 8 years of follow-up, 79 men had died in the hormone therapy group, but only 37 men had died in the combination therapy group. The men receiving combination therapy group did, however, have higher rates of fatigue, insomnia and sexual problems. Nonetheless, the investigators concluded that men with prostate cancer do benefit from aggressive therapy.
In Europe, many doctors have shied away from using combination therapy, considering it too harsh for the patients. One of the study authors asserted that it is not enough to treat patients with hormone therapy but that radiation therapy must be added in order to see a dramatic increase in survival. He recommended that this combination should become the new standard of treatment.
Source: Oncology Stat