Higher radiation doses, fewer treatments.

Position:Stereotactic radiation therapy - Prostate Cancer

In a multicenter clinical trial, researchers have found that higher doses of stereotactic radiation therapy requiring fewer treatments are safe and effective for patients with low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer. Results of the trial, available in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, show that stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), which delivers ultraprecise radiation, is effective in treating patients with localized prostate cancer in five 30-minute sessions every other day over two weeks. That compares to the typical radiation protocol for prostate cancer of 42 to 45 daily treatments administered over eight to nine weeks.

"We were attempting to develop a fast, convenient, outpatient, noninvasive treatment," declares neurologist Robert Timmerman, senior author of the study. "In the low-risk population, there are a lot of good options, but none of them are altogether convenient. The most convenient treatment would finish quickly without the need for prolonged recovery."

SBRT has been used in the last decade to treat patients with lung, liver, and brain cancers. The study tested whether high-potency treatments would work in a shifting target like the prostate, which moves considerably due to normal bladder and...

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