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Radiotherapy and Surgery Best for Prostate Cancer

Survival rates were higher for men who got both therapies, study finds

FRIDAY, Aug. 12, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Radiotherapy after surgery may help prevent cancer progression in men whose prostate cancer has spread beyond the prostate, suggests a European study in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Removal of the prostate can successfully control the disease when cancer is confined to the prostate. However, when the cancer has spread beyond the prostate, the risk of cancer recurrence after surgery ranges from 10 percent to 50 percent, the study authors noted.

Their study included 1,000 men who'd had radical prostatectomy. Half the men were given radiotherapy after surgery and the other were just monitored. After five years, 74 percent of the men in the radiotherapy group had "biochemical progression-free survival," compared with 53 percent of men in the monitored group.

Biochemical progression-free survival refers to concentrations of the prostate cancer marker prostate specific antigen (PSA).

The study also found that the men in the radiotherapy group also had a higher rate of clinical progression-free survival than the men in the monitored group.

"Our results show significant improvement in biochemical progression-free survival with immediate postoperative irraditation ... Long-term follow-up is needed to asses if postoperative irradiation affects the occurrence of distant metastases, survival, or both," the researchers wrote.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about prostate cancer treatments.

SOURCE: Aug. 11, 2005, The Lancet news release,
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