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ASTRO: Fewer Side Effects With IMRT for Prostate Cancer

Intensity modulated radiation therapy tied to fewer side effects than 3-D conformal radiation

MONDAY, Oct. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment of localized prostate cancer using intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is associated with a considerable reduction in late bowel and rectal side effects and significantly decreased rectal and bladder toxicity compared to three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT), according to a study presented the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from Oct. 2 to 6 in Miami Beach.

Jeff Michalski, M.D., from Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis, and colleagues conducted a dose-escalation trial to investigate the acute and late toxicities associated with high-dose radiation therapy. A cohort of 748 men with localized prostate cancer randomized to treatment in the high-dose arm were allocated to treatment with 3D-CRT or IMRT. Toxicities were classified from grade zero (no toxicity) to four (severe toxicity). Patient characteristics correlating with toxicity were assessed.

The investigators found that IMRT treatment correlated with a significant decrease in acute grade 2+ rectal/bowel and urinary toxicity and a 26 percent reduction in late grade 2+ rectal and bowel side effects. White men had a significantly (15 percent) increased risk of rectal side effects compared to other races, irrespective of radiation treatment.

"This study supports the continued use of IMRT in the management of prostate cancer. It is a safe and very well-tolerated therapy, with fewer complications than 3D-CRT," Michalski said in a statement.

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