According to researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston Ma., men with aggressive prostate cancer who have radiation therapy to treat the cancer have better overall survival rates when the therapy is given at a high volume treatment facility.

Paul Nguyen, MD, a physician researcher in the department of Radiation Oncology at Brigham said, “Our paper shows that experience counts.” He said, “For men with aggressive prostate cancer, survival is improved if they receive their radiation treatments at a high volume facility as opposed to a lower volume facility.”

The study used data from 19,565 men diagnosed with high-risk prostate cancer from 2004 to 2006 and treated with radiation at 1,099 facilities. The data was draw from the National Cancer Database (NCDB). The radiation case volume (RCV) of each hospital was based on its number of radiation-treated prostate cancer patients, and a propensity score-based analysis was used to compare the overall survival in high- versus low-RCV hospitals.

The researchers adjusted for the tumor characteristics, the men’s socio-demographic differences, radiation type, and if they had used androgen deprivation (ADT). Results showed that the men who were treated with radiation at higher-volume facilities consistently had a better survival rate compared to those treated at lower-volume facilities.

High-volume hospitals were defined as those treating more than 43 at-risk prostate cancer patients each year.

Survival advantages for men treated by a high volume surgeon are known and according to Dr. Nguyen, “now we see that same trend when it comes to radiation therapy… at a higher volume facility, not only will the radiation oncologist have more experience at designing and delivering the appropriate treatment fields, but the multidisciplinary team of pathologists, radiologists, urologists, and medical oncologists will have greater expertise in making accurate diagnoses and tailoring the systemic therapy regimen to ensure the best-possible outcome for the patient.”