ASTRO encourages prostate cancer patients to weigh long-term impact of treatment options with their doctors

ARLINGTON, Va., September 15, 2016 -- In light of the findings from the Prostate Testing for Cancer and Treatment (ProtecT) trial published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) would like to congratulate the authors and investigators for conceiving and completing a difficult clinical trial to randomize care for 2,664 men who volunteered to be a part of this study. Their paper emphasizes the importance of joint decision making between prostate cancer patients and their physicians when weighing treatment options for early stage disease. Findings from the ProtecT trial can help patients understand the full range of approaches to manage their disease, including the risks and benefits of active monitoring versus early treatment with radiation therapy (RT) or surgery.

Ten-year findings from the trial indicate that for men with early stage prostate cancer, there is no difference in mortality rates following active monitoring, surgery or RT, and moreover, that cancer-specific deaths at ten years following diagnosis averaged only one percent for all men enrolled in the trial.

Growth of the cancer outside of the prostate did vary between monitoring and treatment groups.  Rates of both regional spread and distant metastases were significantly higher for men who were monitored rather than treated for their early stage disease. Progression did not vary, however, between the surgery and RT groups, although patients in the trial reported different side effects with each modality.

“These findings underscore the essential role of dialogue in treatment selection,” said ASTRO President David C. Beyer, MD, FASTRO. “Men with prostate cancer are all different, and the relative costs and benefits associated with the multiple options to treat it can vary substantially between individuals. The best treatment decisions for prostate cancer, or any cancer, take into consideration the specifics of each individual patient’s disease, expectations and preferences. These options can be confusing, and patients should always make these decisions after consultation with a radiation oncologist and urologist”

ASTRO, the American Urological Association (AUA) and the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) are currently developing updated guidelines for the management of clinically localized prostate cancer. The recommendations, which update a 2007 collaborative guideline issued by the societies, are scheduled for publication in mid-2017.

For more information or to reach Dr. Beyer, contact Liz Gardner, Media Relations Manager, at 703-286-1600 or  liz.gardner@astro.org .

About ASTRO

ASTRO is the premier radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals that specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through professional education and training, support for clinical practice and health policy standards, advancement of science and research, and advocacy. ASTRO publishes three medical journals, International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics ( www.redjournal.org ), Practical Radiation Oncology ( www.practicalradonc.org ) and Advances in Radiation Oncology ( www.advancesradonc.org ); developed and maintains an extensive patient website, RT Answers ( www.rtanswers.org ); and created the Radiation Oncology Institute ( www.roinstitute.org ), a nonprofit foundation to support research and education efforts around the world that enhance and confirm the critical role of radiation therapy in improving cancer treatment. To learn more about ASTRO, visit www.astro.org .

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About Us

ASTRO is the premier radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals that specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through professional education and training, support for clinical practice and health policy standards, advancement of science and research, and advocacy. ASTRO publishes two medical journals, International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (www.redjournal.org) and Practical Radiation Oncology (www.practicalradonc.org); developed and maintains an extensive patient website, www.rtanswers.org; and created the Radiation Oncology Institute (www.roinstitute.org), a non-profit foundation to support research and education efforts around the world that enhance and confirm the critical role of radiation therapy in improving cancer treatment. To learn more about ASTRO, visit www.astro.org.

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