Hormone therapy may double survival chances in prostate cancer

A team from Australia and New Zealand, who looked at the results of an old trial involving 802 prostate cancer patients, found that the hormone treatment, called Neoadjuvant Androgen Deprivation Therapy (NADT), lowers the levels of male hormones that can boost the growth of tumours.

The researchers found that six months of DADT, before and after radiotherapy, avoids the potential side-effects including impotence, high cholesterol and heart attack that can be caused by prolonged use, the Telegraph reported.

In the trial of 802 men with locally advanced prostate cancer, some were treated with radiation only while others also received either three or six months' of hormone therapy.

The researchers looked at the patients 10 years on and found there was an 11 per cent death rate among those who had the six-month NADT treatment combined with radiotherapy, compared with 22 per cent who just had radiation.

Those who only had three months of the hormone therapy experienced no effect in their death rates or cancer spread.

The authors concluded that the trial "shows that a large proportion of men with locally advanced prostate cancer can be treated successfully, with few late side-effects, with as little as 6 months of NADT (and a relatively low dose of radiation)."

In a comment piece published in the British medical journal 'The Lancet', Chris Parker from London's Royal Marsden Hospital said: "(This) is an important trial, and has two clear messages for current clinical practice.

"First, it confirms that NADT significantly reduces mortality after radiotherapy for high-risk prostate cancer, and is a standard of care.

"Second, it helps to resolve the uncertainty regarding NADT duration, and strongly suggests that men receiving NADT should have at least six months’ treatment."

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