Report of a multicenter Canadian phase III randomized trial of 3 months vs. 8 months neoadjuvant androgen deprivation before standard-dose radiotherapy for clinically localized prostate cancer

Juanita Crook, Charles Ludgate, Shawn Malone, Jan Lim, Gad Perry, Libne Eapen, Julie Bowen, Susan Robertson, Gina Lockwood
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2004 September 1, 60 (1): 15-23

PURPOSE: To evaluate the effect of 3 months vs. 8 months of neoadjuvant hormonal therapy before conventional dose radiotherapy (RT) on disease-free survival using prostate-specific antigen PSA and biopsies as end points for clinically localized prostate cancer.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Between February 1995 and June 2001, 378 men were randomized to either 3 or 8 months of flutamide and goserelin before conventional-dose RT (66 Gy) at four participating centers. The median patient age was 72 years (range, 50-84 years). The stage distribution was 17% T1c, 35% T2a, 34% T2b-T2c, 13% T3-T4. The Gleason score (GS) was < or =6 in 51%, 7 in 38%, and 8-10 in 11%. The median baseline PSA level was 9.7 ng/mL (range, 1.3-189 ng/mL). Of the 378 men, 26% were low risk (Stage T1c-T2a, GS < or =6, PSA <10 ng/mL), 43% were intermediate risk (Stage T2b or GS 7 or PSA 10-20 ng/mL), and 31% were high risk (Stage T3 or GS 8-10 or PSA >20 ng/mL). The two arms were balanced in terms of age, GS, T stage, risk group, and presenting PSA level. The median follow-up was 44 months (range, 10-84 months), and 361 patients were available for evaluation.

RESULTS: The 8-month arm achieved a lower PSA level before starting RT (0.37 vs. 0.74 ng/mL, p < or =0.001) and had a greater downsizing of the prostate (mean volume 26.6 cm(3) vs. 30.5 cm(3), p < or =0.001). However, the actuarial freedom from failure rate (biochemical by American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology definition, local or distant) for the 3-month vs. 8-month arms at 3 years was 66% vs. 68% and by 5 years was 61% vs. 62%, respectively (p = 0.36). No statistically significant difference was noted in the types of failure between the two arms (crude final status): biochemical, 22.2% vs. 22.3%; local, 10.2% vs. 6.5%; and distant, 3.4% vs. 4.4% (p = 0.61). Two-year post-RT biopsies were done in 57% (n = 205). Negative biopsies were obtained in 68% of the 3-month and 77% of the 8-month patients; 18% and 14% had indeterminate biopsies and 14% and 9% were positive for residual cancer (p = 0.34) in the two arms, respectively. The median PSA level for nonfailing patients was 0.50 ng/mL in both the 3-months and 8-month arms. A suggestion of improvement was found in the 8-month arm for disease-free survival at 5 years for high-risk patients (39% vs. 52%) but did not achieve statistical significance.

CONCLUSION: A longer period of neoadjuvant hormonal therapy before standard-dose RT does not appear to confer a benefit in terms of disease-free survival or to alter failure patterns. Failure was delayed in the 8-month arm, but this advantage was lost by 5 years of follow-up. A suggestion of benefit was noted with a longer period of hormonal therapy for high-risk patients.

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