Post-prostatectomy radiotherapy improves survival

August 18, 2005

Radiotherapy after radical prostatectomy appears to improve biochemical progression-free survival and local control in patients with pT3 prostate cancers or positive margins, according to European research published in The Lancet (2005; 366:572-8).

Radiotherapy after radical prostatectomy appears to improve biochemical progression-free survival and local control in patients with pT3 prostate cancers or positive margins, according to European research published in The Lancet (2005; 366:572-8). The findings are based on a study of 1,005 patients, with a median age of 65 years, who were randomized to receive immediate postoperative radiotherapy or standard monitoring.

After a median follow-up of 5 years, biochemical progression-free survival in the irradiated group was 74%, significantly higher than the 52.6% rate seen in the control group (p<.001). Moreover, radiotherapy was tied to a significant improvement in clinical progression-free survival and a significantly lower cumulative rate of locoregional failure than that seen in control patients.

"Immediate external irradiation after radical prostatectomy improves biochemical progression-free survival and local control in patients with positive surgical margins or pT3 prostate cancer who are at high risk of progression," wrote the researchers, led by Michel Bolla, MD, of University Hospital, Grenoble, France.

Further follow-up is needed to assess the effect on overall survival, the researchers said.