A study of prostate cancer in men aged 70 years and older (POCAMOS)

Cancer type:

Prostate cancer





This study looked at whether it was possible to predict who might have side effects from radiotherapy for prostate cancer. It was for men aged 70 and over.

More about this trial

Doctors use radiotherapy to treat prostate cancer. But radiotherapy can cause side effects that can affect health and fitness afterwards.

Doctors sometimes find it difficult to decide who is well enough for radiotherapy and who is more likely to have side effects. This is especially true for older people who may have other medical conditions or additional needs. The research team hoped that the results from the questionnaires in this study would help them decide.

The researchers used a series of questionnaires called the comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) to assess the health of the men taking part. The CGA asks about factors such as their daily activities, other medical conditions, psychological health, nutrition and general fitness.

They also looked at two other, shorter assessments to see if they were as good at assessing men as the CGA. One was called VES-13 and asked about things such as their age, health and physical ability. The other was called G8 and asked about things such as their mobility, nutrition, health and medications.

The aim of this study was to find out if these questionnaires can help predict who will have side effects from radiotherapy.

Summary of results

The research team found that about one third of men had additional health needs according the comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) results. But the results didn’t predict who would have side effects from radiotherapy.
They recruited patients between 2011 and 2014, and published the results in 2017.
This study recruited 178 men with prostate cancer who were due to have radiotherapy. The men taking part completed several questionnaires, including:
  • comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA)
  • vulnerable elders survey (VES-13)
  • G8 screening tool
They completed the questionnaires before they started radiotherapy. And again 12 weeks after they finished treatment.
The results showed that 55 men (31%) had a positive score on the CGA. This means they had some additional needs. This could mean they:
  • were dependent on someone else
  • were taking lots of medications
  • needed help with day to day things
  • had fallen over recently
The research team were able to assess side effects in 162 men who took part. They found that 128 men (79%) had side effects within 12 weeks of radiotherapy. They found there was no link between those who had side effects from treatment, and those who had additional needs according to the CGA.
They also compared the results of the CGA to the results of VES-13 and G8. They found the VES-13 and G8 assessments couldn’t predict who would get a positive score on the CGA.
The research team concluded that the CGA couldn’t be used to predict who was more likely to have side effects from radiotherapy. And that the VES-13 and G8 couldn’t be used to identify people who have additional needs according to their CGA score.
The research team will look continue to follow up the men taking part to see if CGA is linked to long term problems or how long they live. 
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. 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

Alastair Ring

Supported by

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Sussex Cancer Fund

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


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

Last reviewed:

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