A trial comparing different ways of giving radiotherapy for prostate cancer (CHHIP)
This trial looked at giving radiotherapy for prostate cancer in fewer, higher doses. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
Doctors often treat prostate cancer with radiotherapy. Standard radiotherapy is one treatment each day, Monday to Friday, for 7 ½ weeks. Each radiotherapy treatment is called a fraction. So you have 37 fractions in total.
Radiotherapy has improved in recent years, and doctors are often able to shape the beam to the exact treatment area. For some cancers they can also vary the intensity of the beam so the treatment is very precise. This is called intensity modulated radiotherapy, or IMRT. It means that there is less damage to the healthy tissue around the area being treated.
Everyone taking part in this trial had IMRT.
Doctors think that it may be better to give more radiotherapy per fraction, but fewer fractions. This is called hypofractionated radiotherapy. Although the dose per fraction is higher than standard radiotherapy, the total dose is lower. In this trial, some patients had the standard 37 fractions, some had 20 and some had 19.
The aim of this trial was to find out
- If hypofractionated radiotherapy is better than standard radiotherapy for treating prostate cancer
- More about the side effects
Summary of results
The research team are analysing the data for this trial in two parts.
First of all they have looked at the information about side effects of radiotherapy for 418 of the men who took part in the trial. Below is a summary of this information.
Next they plan to analyse the information about how well the treatment worked for all 3,216 of the men who took part. We will update this page once that information is available.
The men who took part in this trial were put into 1 of 3 groups.
- Group 1 had standard dose radiotherapy, which is 37 fractions in 7 1/2 weeks
- Group 2 had hypofractionated radiotherapy, with 20 fractions in 4 weeks
- Group 2 had hypofractionated radiotherapy, with 19 fractions in just under 4 weeks
The research team looked at how many men had side effects affecting their bowel and bladder 2 years after treatment. The results were similar in all 3 groups.
They found that
- 6 out of 138 men (4.3%) in group 1 had bowel side effects
- 5 out of 137 men (3.6%) in group 2 had bowel side effects
- 2 out of 143 men (1.4%) in group 3 had bowel side effects
- 3 out of 138 men (2.2%) in group 1 had bladder side effects
- 3 out of 137 men (2.2%) in group 2 had bladder side effects
- None of the 143 men in group 3 had bladder side effects
The research team concluded that giving radiotherapy in fewer, higher doses is safe and doesn’t cause more side effects than standard treatment. They will look at how well hypofractionated radiotherapy works as a treatment for prostate cancer in their next analysis.
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) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/06/016.
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