Alfred Health Radiation Oncology experts have demonstrated the benefit of combining two forms of radiation treatment to target prostate cancer.
In a study that tracked patients for 20 years, the team measured the impact of attacking tumours from both outside and inside the body at the same time.
In addition to the common external beam radiotherapy – radiotherapists added high dose-rate brachytherapy (or “HDR”), which targets a tumour using small cannulas (tubes) placed into or near the tumour.
The report’s senior author Professor Jeremy Millar said HDR delivers more effective radiation to the cancer, while decreasing the risk of damage to neighbouring organs.
“Attempts to deliver ever increasing dose by external beam techniques are limited by toxicity to urethra, bladder, rectum, and surrounding tissue,” said Prof Millar.
“Adding HDR allows us to increase radiation directly to the cancer, and it’s proven to be effective treatment for many men with high-risk disease.”
The study, published in the journal Brachytherapy, used data from 654 Alfred Health patients treated for clinically localised prostate cancer between 1998 and 2004 and followed closely since.
“The long-term follow-up data has demonstrated that increasing radiation with HDR improves the chances that men will survive their prostate cancer.