A retrospective study, using the SEER Date, a U.S. national database, analyzed data from men diagnosed with prostate cancer and found that salvage radical prostatectomy (SRP) improved the long-term survival in men whose cancer has returned after receiving radiation therapy.

We know that approximately 30% of men who have radiation therapy as their primary therapy will have a recurrence of their prostate cancer within 5 years of completing the radiation.

The researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine identified men with prostate cancer who underwent surgery after radiation. They identified and analyzed the overall and cancer-specific survival outcomes in 364 of these men who underwent salvage radical prostatectomy (SRP).

Results from the analysis indicated that overall survival among surgery patients was 77.5 percent at 10 years and 37.3 percent at 20 years, while cancer-specific survival was 88.6 percent at 10 years and 72.7 percent at 20 years.

While researchers acknowledged that the small sample size limited the study’s power, its results still indicated that long-term survival can be achieved through SRP. “Because radical prostatectomy is a complex surgery, there can be a reluctance to undergo the procedure. However, this study shows that it is a viable treatment option.

SRP involves the surgical removal of the prostate gland and surrounding tissue in the attempt to keep the cancer from spreading. The surgery is challenging because of tissue scarring during the radiation treatment.