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Prostate cancer clinical trial shows treating with precision radiotherapy reduces course of treatment by 50 per cent

Dr. Charles Catton, radiation oncologist at the Princess Margaret and co-principal investigator on the study, says the compressed course of treatment allows for more patients to be treated in less time. (Video: UHN)
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(TORONTO, Canada – March 16, 2017) – An Ontario-led international clinica​l trial with 1,206 men with localized prostate cancer shows that compressing radiation treatments into four weeks from eight delivers similar outcomes.

The findings, published online today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, provide a new standard of care worldwide, which the participating centres have already adopted, says co-principal investigator Charles Catton, radiation oncologist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network. Dr. Catton is also a Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto.

"We conducted a randomized clinical trial looking at a way of improving radiation therapy for men with intermediate-risk prostate cancer. Using modern radiation therapy techniques that are very precise, we determined there was no noticeable difference between eight-  and four-week treatment regimens in terms of cancer control or side effects of treatment," says Dr. Catton.  The trial participants were followed for six years.

"In fact, for some men, the shorter regimen meant slightly fewer side effects (particularly regarding bowel function) and therefore improved quality of life. The compressed course of treatment is of great benefit to patients and also to the system in terms of being able to treat more patients in less time," he says. In Canada, 20,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year; many of whom have intermediate-risk disease that has not spread. 

The trial was conducted with co-principal investigator Himu Lukka, radiation oncologist, Juravinski Cancer Centre, and Professor, Department of Oncology, McMaster University, and coordinated by the Ontario Clinical Oncology Group, Hamilton, Ontario. Twenty-seven cancer centres in Canada, Australia and France participated in the study, which began in 2005.

Dr. Catton says the trial further improved patient care by standardizing quality delivery of precision radiation techniques among participating institutions.

The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

About Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network

The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre has achieved an international reputation as a global leader in the fight against cancer and delivering personalized cancer medicine. The Princess Margaret, one of the top five international cancer research centres, is a member of the University Health Network, which also includes Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the Michener Institute for Education; all affiliated with the University of Toronto. For more information, go to www.theprincessmargaret.ca or www.uhn.ca .

About Ontario Clinical Oncology Group

The Ontario Clinical Oncology Group (OCOG) is an academic-based clinical trials development and coordination organization which focuses on cancer. It works with networks of clinician investigators locally, provincially, nationally and abroad to conduct trials which address clinically relevant questions, go to www.ocog.ca

Media contact:
Jane Finlayson, Public Affairs
Phone: 416 946 2846
Email: jane.finlayson@uhn.ca

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