Researchers at UAB have recently completed 2 studies investigating the safety and effectiveness of a new treatment schedule for prostate cancer using hypofractionated radiotherapy, which involves higher doses of radiotherapy per day over a shorter overall treatment time. These studies revealed that over 97% of patients with prostate cancer treated since 2005 remain cancer-free, and fewer than 1 in 10 patients experienced significant gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, 3 months following the completion of treatment. We anticipate that these results will be confirmed by ongoing national clinical trials.
The success of hypofractionated treatment is based on advances in technologies such as CT-based image-guidance (IGRT) and Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT). IMRT techniques enable the physician to design and shape the radiation beams such that higher doses of radiation can be delivered directly to the tumor tissue, while minimizing radiation to the surrounding normal organs, such as the bladder and rectum. Also, IGRT allows for real-time positioning of the prostate at the time of treatment to ensure accurate delivery of the radiation doses, because there is day-to-day movement of the prostate and other organs. Putting these technologies together means that fewer treatment sessions are necessary to achieve the same anti-tumor effects, while simultaneously minimizing side-effects. The most common of these regimens are performed utilizing the linear accelerator located at the Kirklin Clinic at Acton Road Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In addition to these studies, investigators at UAB will soon be enrolling a trial to investigate treating prostate cancer using Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT), a highly focused, high dose form of radiation that is delivered in only 5 sessions using even higher doses per session. Our commitment to research allows us to ensure you receive the most up-to-date information to help you make informed decisions regarding the treatment of your prostate cancer.