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A trial looking at intermittent versus continuous hormone therapy for prostate cancer that has continued to grow but has not spread (Intercontinental)
This trial compared intermittent hormone therapy with continuous hormone therapy for prostate cancer that had continued to grow after radiotherapy. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
Prostate cancer is often treated with hormone therapy. But at some point, prostate cancer usually becomes
Doctors thought that if you had hormone therapy on and off (intermittently) rather than all the time (continuously), it may work just as well and may also reduce side effects.
The main aims of this trial were to compare intermittent and continuous hormone therapy to see the difference between how long the men lived and how it affected their quality of life.
Summary of results
The trial team found that the amount of time that men lived was not reduced when they had intermittent therapy. And that for many of the men side effects were reduced and could lead to an improved quality of life. The men were followed for an average of around seven years
This was an international trial and recruited 1,386 men from different countries around the world.
All the men had radiotherapy to treat their prostate cancer. When there were signs that the cancer may have started to grow again, they were put into 1 of 2 groups, those who had
- Intermittent hormone therapy
- Continuous hormone therapy
Overall, the men having intermittent hormone therapy reported a slightly better
The team found no difference in the amount of time men lived when they compared the 2 groups.
The trial team recommend that men whose prostate cancer show signs of coming back after radiotherapy should have intermittent hormone therapy as described in the Intercontinental trial protocol instead of continuous hormone therapy.
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 (
How to join a clinical trial
Prof David Dearnaley
Cancer Research UK
Institute of Cancer Research (ICR)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/02/020.