A trial looking at the side effects of radiotherapy for prostate cancer and quality of life during and after treatment

Cancer type:

Prostate cancer

Status:

Results

Phase:

Phase 2

This trial compared side effects of external beam radiotherapy only with external beam radiotherapy plus high dose rate brachytherapy. The study focussed on men’s quality of life during and after both types of treatment.

More about this trial

Doctors often treat prostate cancer with external beam radiotherapy. If suitable they also give an extra dose of radiotherapy. This is called a booster dose Open a glossary item. This booster dose can be given as external beam radiotherapy or as internal radiotherapy.

Internal radiotherapy is also called brachytherapy. In this type of treatment, the radioactive sources are inside the body, delivering the radiation directly to the cancer. So brachytherapy gives a high dose of radiotherapy to the prostate cancer without affecting too much of the surrounding healthy tissue.
 
In this trial the researchers used high dose rate brachytherapy. In high dose rate brachytherapy, the doctor puts thin tubes containing a radioactive material that gives a high dose of radiotherapy to the prostate gland in a short time. When the correct dose is reached the doctor removes the radioactive tubes. You then have no radiation left in your prostate.

The aims of this study were to compare the side effects of external beam radiotherapy only with external beam radiotherapy plus high dose rate brachytherapy and to see how these treatments affected quality of life.

Summary of results

The trial team found that giving a booster dose of brachytherapy didn’t affect the men’s quality of life.

This trial recruited 194 men from The Exeter Oncology Centre and Torbay Oncology Unit who were having radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer.

  • 97 men had external beam radiotherapy only
  • 97 men had a booster dose of brachytherapy before their external beam radiotherapy

All the men filled in questionnaires at the end of their treatment and then after

  • 1 month
  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 1 year
  • 2 years

The questions asked about any side effects they had from treatment and how they were feeling. This is called a quality of life study.

Overall the researchers found that there was no significant difference between the 2 groups’ quality of life and side effects at any point. This couldn’t have happened by chance and so it was statistically significant Open a glossary item.

For men in both groups, urinary and bowel side effects were the worst at the end of treatment. But for most of the men, these side effects had gone a month after treatment.  At 2 years after treatment, very few men reported having ongoing urinary problems.

The trial team concluded that giving a booster dose to the prostate before radiotherapy didn’t affect the men’s quality of life. As a result of this trial, both The Exeter Oncology Centre and Torbay Oncology Unit now give a booster dose of brachytherapy to the prostate gland before external beam radiotherapy for prostate cancer.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) but may not have been published in a medical journal.  The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Anna Lydon

Supported by

Major Ronald Ferguson Memorial Fund
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
PCAS Prostate Cancer Network
Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 4091

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Keith took part in a trial looking into hormone therapy

A picture of Keith

"Health wise I am feeling great. I am a big supporter of trials - it allows new treatments and drugs to be brought in.”

Last reviewed:

Rate this page:

No votes yet
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think