High-dose radiation may be as equally effective as surgery in treating aggressive prostate cancer, a new study finds.
Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy among men in the U.S., and is their second leading cause of cancer death. Nearly 180,000 new cases will diagnosed this year and 26,120 men are expected to die from the disease.
In the past oncologists suggested that surgery and radiation-based treatments offer equivalent outcomes. However, optimal treatment for prostate cancer patients remains controversial, in part because technologies and treatment strategies are continually improving over time.
The aggressiveness of prostate cancer is dependent on many factors, one of which is the Gleason score–a grading system of how aggressive the disease appears under the microscope.
According to researchers, this is the first study of its time that directly compared outcomes of both treatments to patients with cancers whose high Gleason scores indicate they are highly aggressive.
Researchers at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles looked at 487 such prostate cancer treatment between 2000 and 2013 at that center as well as two others in the area.
The study showed that that radiation-based treatments and surgery are equally effective for aggressive prostate cancer. In addition, it was also found that a particular form of radiotherapy, consisting of external radiation followed by brachytherapy (a type of radiation in which a radioactive source is placed into the tumor directly) provides the best chance of preventing the spread of the disease.
This was the first study to directly compare the outcomes of patients treated with surgery and radiation, the researchers say of their study, which appears in European Urology.
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