"Health wise I am feeling great. I am a big supporter of trials - it allows new treatments and drugs to be brought in.”
A trial looking at higher doses of radiotherapy for prostate cancer - RT01
This trial was looking at giving higher doses of radiotherapy to men with prostate cancer that was contained within the prostate gland (localised).
A method called conformal radiotherapy allows doctors to give a higher dose of radiotherapy. This may be better at controlling cancer, but researchers wanted to find out if having a higher dose of radiotherapy was safe.
All the men who took part in this trial had a few months of hormone therapy before having radiotherapy.
The aims of the trial were to
- See if a higher dose of conformal radiotherapy was better at controlling prostate cancer
- Learn more about the side effects
Summary of results
The researchers found that giving men a higher dose of radiotherapy helped to stop prostate cancer coming back.
The trial recruited 843 men. They were put into 2 groups by a computer. This is called randomisation.
- Group 1 had the standard dose of radiotherapy over 6 and a half weeks
- Group 2 had a higher dose over 7 and a half weeks
If prostate cancer starts to grow again after treatment, a marker in the blood called prostate specific antigen (PSA) goes up. The researchers found that after 5 years, the PSA level had gone up or they could see that the cancer had come back in
- 40 out of every 100 men in group 1 (40%)
- 29 out of every 100 men in group 2 (29%)
Men in both groups had short term side effects affecting the bowel and bladder during radiotherapy treatment. These side effects got better quite quickly after the treatment finished.
The researchers believe that these results show the benefits of the higher dose treatment outweigh the risk of more side effects.
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
Professor David Dearnaley
Medical Research Council (MRC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)