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Controversies in prostate cancer radiotherapy: consensus development
On behalf of Canadian GU Radiation Oncologist Group
Aug  2001 (Vol.  8, Issue  4, Pages( 1314 - 1322)


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  • The GU Radiation Oncologists of Canada (GUROC) had a consensus meeting in November 2000 to discuss and develop consensus on four controversial areas: risk assessment of localized prostate cancer, conformal radiotherapy, role of brachytherapy in prostate cancer and combined hormonal therapy and radiotherapy for prostate cancer. The meeting was a success and resulted in consensus being achieved on a number of areas. The group agreed on three risk groupings: low risk, intermediate risk and high risk localized prostate cancer based on clinical stage, Gleason score and PSA level. The participants agreed that based on available toxicity data from randomized controlled trials, conformal treatment techniques should be offered to patients receiving prostatic radiotherapy. Consensus was reached on the role of dose escalation in each of the three risk groups and is summarized in the article. At present there is insufficient evidence from randomized clinical trials to recommend the use of brachytherapy over current other standard therapy (radical prostatectomy or external beam radiotherapy). Non randomized published studies show promising short and intermediate term results. Where ever possible patients should be approached about participation in ongoing RCT's evaluating brachytherapy versus current other standard therapy. Outside a clinical trial the participants felt permanent seed implants should be considered an acceptable treatment option for appropriate patients with low risk prostate cancer. Based on randomized controlled trials the group agreed that patients with high risk disease should be treated with prolonged (up to 2-3 years) adjuvant hormonal therapy. Part of this hormonal treatment may be given in a neoadjuvant fashion. The group agreed that adjuvant hormones should not be routinely used in low and intermediate risk patients. Neoadjuvant hormones have been demonstrated to improve outcome in patients with bulky tumors. The role of neoadjuvant hormones in other patients with intermediate and low risk prostate cancer is unclear and will be clarified with the publication of recently completed studies. The consensus meeting strongly endorsed continued accrual to current studies investigating clinically relevant questions.