Precision radiotherapy may halve treatment time

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, made up of international participants, found that shortening radiation treatments from eight weeks to four weeks produces similar results and patient outcomes.

The study was led by Charles Catton, a radiation oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. It included 1,206 men with localized prostate cancer that were monitored by six years. By cutting the therapy by 50 percent while maintaining similar results, researchers may have revealed a new standard of care for precision radiotherapy. Catton stated the study further improves upon the standardization of care delivery for precision radiation therapy.

"We conducted a randomized clinical trial looking at a way of improving radiation therapy for men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer. Using modern radiation therapy techniques that are very precise, we determined there was no noticeable difference between eight- and four-week treatment regimens in terms of cancer control or side effects of treatment," said Catton. “In fact, for some men, the shorter regimen meant slightly fewer side effects (particularly regarding bowel function) and therefore improved quality of life. The compressed course of treatment is of great benefit to patients and also to the system in terms of being able to treat more patients in less time.”