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New System Spots At-Risk Prostate Cancer Patients

Predicting tumor recurrence is key to deciding treatment, experts say

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

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WEDNESDAY, Nov. 8, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. experts have devised a new classification system to evaluate prostate cancer patients after they have undergone radiation treatment.

The system should help doctors spot patients who are most likely to suffer a cancer recurrence and could most benefit from hormone therapy.

Doctors consider a number of factors to determine which prostate cancer patients would benefit from therapy to suppress hormones that are believed to promote prostate cancer, according to background information in the article.

These factors include "biochemical failure" (BF). BF indicates that treatment for prostate cancer has failed. It is determined with a calculation involving post-treatment prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in the blood.

The new classification system, called the Phoenix definition, uses a different method of determining BF failure and offers a better way of predicting patient outcome, according to this new study.

"The Phoenix system allows a more robust prediction for clinical outcome," researcher Dr. Matthew C. Abramowitz, a resident in the radiation oncology department at Fox Chase Cancer Center, in Philadelphia, said in a prepared statement.

He and his colleagues used the Phoenix definition to assess 1,831 prostate cancer patients who'd undergone treatment.

"Using the previous classification system, these men may have been misclassified. Using the new definition, we are able to better identify those men most likely to develop problems from their recurrent prostate cancer. These men may benefit from hormone therapy," Abramowitz said.

The findings were expected to be presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, in Philadelphia.

More information

The American Urological Association has more about hormone therapy for prostate cancer.

SOURCE: Fox Chase Cancer Center, news release, Nov. 8, 2006


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