Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Shows High Cure Rates in Prostate Cancer

Stereotactic body radiation therapy shows 98% cure rate in first-time prostate cancer patients.

Five year results from stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) treatment for prostate cancer showed a 98.6% cure rate, which is higher than results from surgery or conventional radiation.

The study involved 91 first-time prostate cancer patients diagnosed with stage 1 or 2 cancer. Participants were then treated and monitored for 5 years, with only 1 patient who had cancer recurrence.

“The high cure rate is striking when compared to the reported 5-year cure rates from other approaches like surgery or conventional radiation, which range between 80% to 90%, while the side effects of this treatment are comparable to other types of treatment,” said lead study author Raquibul Hannan. “What we now have is a more potent and effective form of completely noninvasive treatment for prostate cancer, conveniently completed in five treatments.”

SBRT was found to be more convenient for patients being treated, as well as have an increase in potency. Currently, radiation involves 44 treatments over a 9-week period, while SBRT therapy consists of only 5 treatments.

“The difference between being treated 5 times versus 44 times is enormous,” said prostate cancer patient Terry Martin. “I felt that I was back to normal just 10 days after finishing treatment.”

The study, published in the European Journal of Cancer, also found that were not that many differences compared with other prostate cancer treatments. Short-term side effects of SBRT included urinary issues and rectal irritation, a temporary side effect that stopped within 4 weeks of treatment.

A small risk of longer-term urinary and rectal complications with SBRT was found, but was comparable to conventional treatments. Additionally, 25% of patients saw a decrease in erectile function, a percentage fewer than that of conventional radiation or surgery.

Researchers at UT Southwestern are looking to reduce the side effects associated with SBRT by using a unique and biodegradable rectal spacer gel to protect the rectum.

Other clinical trials at UT Southwestern are looking to expand the application of SBRT to include stage 3 prostate cancer patients.

“Our hope is that the high potency of this form of treatment will significantly improve treatment of these patients,” Hannan said.