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Study: SBRT has 98 percent cure rate for prostate cancer

The treatment method required far fewer therapy sessions and yielded fewer and less intense side effects.

By Stephen Feller
Stereotactic body radiation therapy involves aiming several beams of high-dose radiation researchers said allows for a more concentrated dose of radiation while limiting the effects on healthy tissues. Photo by adriaticfoto/Shutterstock
Stereotactic body radiation therapy involves aiming several beams of high-dose radiation researchers said allows for a more concentrated dose of radiation while limiting the effects on healthy tissues. Photo by adriaticfoto/Shutterstock

DALLAS, April 18 (UPI) -- An alternative method of delivering radiation therapy to prostate cancer patients had a nearly 100 percent cure rate, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center say stereotactic body radiation therapy, a method of directing several radiation streams at a tumor, was significantly more effective against prostate cancer than traditional radiation methods.

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SBRT involves aiming several beams of high-dose radiation, which researchers said allows for a more concentrated dose of radiation while limiting the effects on healthy tissues. It also had a faster effect against the cancer, the researchers reported, as well as fewer short- or long-term side effects.

"Our hope is that the high potency of this form of treatment will significantly improve treatment of these patients," Dr. Raquibul Hannan, an assistant professor of radiation oncology at the UT Southwestern Medical Center, said in a press release.

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For the study, published in the European Journal of Cancer, researchers recruited 91 patients with prostate cancer.

With an overall cure rate of 98.6 percent, researchers found no metastasis of tumors at three- and five-year checks, and survival was 94 percent three years into the study and 89.7 percent after five years.

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Some patients experienced urinary issues, including urgency, frequency and burning, as well as rectal irritation, all of which was temporary and reversed. A decrease in erectile function was seen in just 25 percent of patients, fewer than the number with conventional radiation or surgery, the researchers reported.

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"The current form of radiation is 44 treatments given over nine weeks," said Dr. Robert Timmerman, director of the Annette Simmons Stereotactic Treatment Center at UT Southwestern. "In contrast, the SBRT therapy we used allows the delivery of highly focused radiation in only five treatments, allowing patients to return to their normal lives more quickly. SBRT is both more convenient and has increased potency."

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