Prostate cancer patients who are treated with a combination of hormone therapy and radiation have a substantially improved chance of survival compared to patients who do not receive radiation, according to interim results of the largest randomized study of its kind presented at the plenary session, November 1, 2010, at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

From 1995 to 2005, researchers at the National Cancer Institute of Canada, the United Kingdom Medical Research Council and the Southwest Oncology Group in the United States randomly selected 1,205 men with high-risk prostate cancer in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. They were randomly selected to receive only hormone therapy or a combination of hormone therapy and radiation treatment.  The men were followed for at least six years.

Not surprising, but the very important conclusion from the interim results of the study show that the addition of radiation therapy significantly decreased the risk of death among these men. They also found that there was no increased long-term side effects associated with the combination treatment. The independent data monitoring committee recommended the release of these results for presentation in view of their importance. The final analysis will be released after further follow-up with the patient group.

“If the figures from the interim analysis are similar to the final analysis, we would expect a 43 percent reduction in the chances of death from prostate cancer in men with this regimen,” Malcolm Mason,