Hormone therapy for men ¦with locally advanced prostate cancer, that is

Patients with locally advanced prostate cancer may benefit from a six month hormone treatment, according to a new Lancet Oncology study. Researchers from New Zealand and the University of Newcastle in Australia assessed the ten year survival rates of Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group (TROG) 96.01 trial patients with localized prostate cancer given three or six months of androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) in combination with radiation therapy or radiation therapy alone. Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), also known as hormone therapy, is used to treat prostate cancer by lowering the levels of male hormones that can promote the growth of prostate cancer. They found that patients receiving six months of ADT with radiation experienced a significantly lower death rate from prostate cancer (11 percent) and other ailments (29 percent) than those on radiation therapy, alone (22 percent and 43 percent, respectively). Three months of therapy, on the other hand, failed to improve ten-year survival and cancer progression more than radiation therapy alone.

These findings are good news for men whose prostate cancer is confined to the prostate gland, says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan.

ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross believes this is a very important follow-up to the preliminary, five year survival results of the TROG 96.01 trial. It confirms that six months of hormonal anti-androgens along with focused radiation therapy can provide significant survival benefits for these patients. Shortening the duration of ADT, though, will help to reduce the rate of the sometimes disturbing or life-threatening side effects associated with this prescription.