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High Dose Radiation Therapy Critical in Some Prostate Cancers; Study is One of First to Report Long Term Follow-up

PHILADELPHIA (November 2, 2001) -- A new study examining the long-term response to one of the earliest radiation dose escalation series shows dose is critical for some prostate cancers. The finding will be presented by Gerald E. Hanks, retired chairman of the Radiation Oncology Department at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pa., at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Ca. on Wednesday, November 7 at 10:15 a.m. PT.

The radiation dose escalation treatment study was conducted between 1989 and 1992. This has allowed researchers to conduct one of the first studies to examine long-term response to the treatment involving patients who completed treatment 8 to 12 years ago.

"Long-term evaluation of the advantage of radiation dose escalation in prostate cancer is important," said Hanks. "This affords an opportunity to better understand dose response, side effects, and the long-term effects of dose escalation, such as reducing metastasis rates."

For the study, 232 consecutive patients received increasing radiation doses. Follow-up was available in all but three patients. Sixty-nine (69) patients are living cancer free, 54 living patients have reported PSA failure, and 8 patients have metastasis. Seventeen (17) patients died of cancer and 81 died of other causes.

With this long-term follow-up, disease relapse as measured by post-treatment PSA level was estimated for various patient groups according to the dose received. "This long-term report of one of the earliest dose escalation series shows dose is critical for the unfavorable low PSA group and the intermediate PSA group," explained Hanks. "Also treatment success is improved by approximately 40 percent, and distant metastases are reduced significantly for those patients with an initial PSA of 10-19.9.

"With enough patients and time, the latter observation must translate into better survival. The raising of the radiation dose remains one of the most important goals for the standard of treatment.

Other authors on the study include A.L. Hanlon, B. Epstein and E.M. Horwitz.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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