It’s not at all uncommon for people to think the most radical, invasive form of treatment is the best path to take when cancer is the diagnosis. After all, getting the offending cells out of the body and zapping their ability to survive, multiply and thrive is the ultimate goal. When it’s time to explore treatment options for prostate cancer, however, sometimes the less complicated path is the best choice to take.
The results of a multiyear study by British Columbia Cancer Agency physician Dr. Scott Tyldesley support this stance in regard to low-dose brachytherapy, or seed therapy. Tyldesley shared results of his study during the Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in Orlando recently, shedding light on just how effective this alternative treatment path can truly be.
This cancer treatment is a bit different than other courses of action. Rather than calling for a radical surgery to remove the tumor or the prostate gland itself, brachytherapy works through the use of tiny radioactive seed implants placed directly into the gland through injections. This targeted therapy kills the cancer cells while preserving much of the surrounding tissue in the process. While used effectively for well over a decade, its effectiveness in comparison to more traditional forms of therapy often remains a concern for patients.
Following on the heels of many other similar studies, brachytherapy has once again stood up to scrutiny. The latest study results show that low-dose brachytherapy boosts performed better over time than dose-escalated external beam radiation therapy (ERBT) in men who have unfavorable-risk disease.
The study showed patients who underwent seed implant therapy after androgen deprivation therapy and whole-pelvis EBRT enjoyed a 9-year relapse-free survival rate of about 83 percent compared to those who underwent conformal EBRT boost therapy. The relapse-free survival rate for the latter was 63 percent.
These findings result from a randomized trial that involved 398 patients diagnosed with high-risk localized prostate cancer. Patients were given 12 months of ADT and EBRT and were randomized to receive low-dose brachytherapy.
While the best course of action for treating prostate cancer depends on the specific case in question and should be discussed at length with a physician, brachytherapy has once again shown its reliability as a highly effective treatment option.