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Pelvic Radiation Doesn't Benefit All Prostate Cancer Patients

High-dose radiation to prostate alone effective for those at high risk of positive pelvic lymph nodes

FRIDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- The addition of pelvic radiation to high-dose radiation to the prostate does not improve outcomes for prostate cancer patients with a greater than 15 percent risk of positive pelvic lymph nodes, according to study findings published in the October issue of the American Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Carlos E. Vargas, M.D., from the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues studied 755 prostate cancer patients with a more than 15 percent risk of positive pelvic lymph nodes. Of these, 255 had received combined external beam radiotherapy and high-dose rate brachytherapy to the prostate and seminal vesicles and were matched to 500 patients who had received external beam radiotherapy to the entire pelvis.

After a mean follow-up of four years, the researchers found that the addition of pelvic radiotherapy had no effect on biochemical failure, distant metastasis, event-free and overall survival, and death from prostate cancer. Androgen deprivation had no effect, according to the study.

"High-dose rate brachytherapy and external beam radiotherapy is an effective treatment of intermediate and high-risk cancer of the prostate. Pelvic radiotherapy was not associated with an improved biochemical, clinical or survival outcome for prostate cancer patients at a less than 15 percent risk of positive pelvic lymph nodes," Vargas and colleagues conclude.

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