Lack of benefit from a short course of androgen deprivation for unfavorable prostate cancer patients treated with an accelerated hypofractionated regime

Alvaro A Martinez, D Jeffrey Demanes, Razvan Galalae, Carlos Vargas, Hagen Bertermann, Rodney Rodriguez, Gary Gustafson, Gillian Altieri, Jose Gonzalez
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2005 August 1, 62 (5): 1322-31

PURPOSE: High-dose radiotherapy, delivered in an accelerated hypofractionated course, was utilized to treat prostate cancer. Therapy consisted of external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) and transrectal ultrasound (TRUS)-guided conformally modulated high-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy. The purpose of this report is (1) to assess long-term comparative outcomes from three trials using similar accelerated hypofractionated regimes; and (2) to examine the long-term survival impact of a short course of < or =6 months adjuvant/concurrent androgen deprivation when a very high radiation dose was delivered.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Between 1986 and 2000, 1,260 patients were treated at three institutions with pelvic EBRT (36-50 Gy) integrated with HDR prostate brachytherapy. The total dose including brachytherapy was given over 5 weeks. The biologic equivalent EBRT dose ranged between 90 and 123 Gy (median, 102 Gy) using an alpha /beta of 1.2. Patient eligibility criteria included a pretreatment prostate-specific antigen > or =10, Gleason score > or =7, or clinical stage > or =T2b. A total of 1,260 patients were treated, and 934 meet the criteria. Kiel University Hospital treated 198 patients; William Beaumont Hospital, 315; and California Endocurietherapy Cancer Center, 459 patients. Brachytherapy dose regimes were somewhat different between centers and the dose was escalated from 5.5 x 3 to 15 Gy x 2 Gy. Patients were divided for analysis between the 406 who received up to 6 months of androgen deprivation therapy and the 528 patients who did not. All patients had a minimum follow-up of 18 months (3 times the exposure to androgen deprivation therapy). The American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology biochemical failure definition was used.

RESULTS: Mean age was 69 years. Median follow-up time was 4.4 years (range, 1.5-14.5); 4 years for androgen deprivation therapy patients and 4.9 for radiation alone. There was no difference at 5 and 8 years in overall survival, cause-specific survival, or biochemical control among the three institutions. The corresponding 8-year rates with and without androgen deprivation therapy were biochemical control 85% and 81%; overall survival 83% and 78%; cause-specific survival 89% and 94%; and metastatic rates of 16.6% and 7.3%. A multivariate analysis revealed androgen deprivation therapy did not predict for biochemical failure for either the entire group or the subset of 177 patients harboring all three poor prognostic factors. Moreover, adding androgen deprivation therapy strongly correlated with higher rates of both metastasis (p = 0.09; hazard ratio, 2.08) and cancer-related deaths (p = 0.02, hazard ratio 3.25). These negative results for the most unfavorable group led us to question if androgen deprivation therapy might have a deleterious impact through delay in delivery of the potentially curative radiation or whether there may be a biologic basis by fixing the cycling cells in G0.

CONCLUSIONS: Accelerated hypofractionated pelvic EBRT integrated with TRUS-guided conformally modulated HDR administered to 1,260 patients in three institutions was an excellent method of delivering very high radiation dose to the prostate in 5 weeks. Similar high overall, cause-specific, and biochemical no evidence of disease survival rates achieved show that prostate HDR can be successfully delivered in academic and community settings. At 8 years, the addition of a course of < or =6 months of neoadjuvant/concurrent androgen deprivation therapy to a very high radiation dose did not confer a therapeutic advantage but added side effects and cost. Furthermore, for the most unfavorable group, there was a higher rate of distant metastasis and more prostate cancer-related deaths. We question the value of a short course of androgen deprivation therapy when used with high-dose radiation.

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