Radiotherapy delay possibly OK in prostate cancer

For men with prostate cancer, initiation of radiotherapy (RT) up to six months after androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is not associated with worse overall survival, according to a research letter published JAMA Oncology.

The researchers found that among men with unfavourable intermediate-risk cancer, the 10-year overall survival (OS) was 59.2% for men who initiated RT 0 to 60 days before ADT initiation (the reference group) compared with 57.9%, 62.3% and 58.9% for those who initiated RT one to 60, 61 to 120, and 121 to 180 days after RT initiation, respectively. No significant difference was found in OS for groups receiving later RT compared with the reference group. Among men with high-risk or very high-risk cancer, the corresponding 10-year OS was 58.9%, compared with 51.7%, 54.8% and 52.4%.

According to the authors the COVID-19 pandemic poses challenges for patients with localised prostate cancer who require RT, often administered with ADT. Daily hospital trips for RT create many possible points of COVID-19 transmission, and patients with cancer are at high risk of COVID-19 mortality.

These results possibly justify the delay of prostate RT for patients currently receiving ADT until COVID-19 infection rates in the community and hospitals are lower, they say.

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