Optimal treatment of intermediate-risk prostate carcinoma with radiotherapy: clinical and translational issues

Cancer. 2005 Sep 1;104(5):891-905. doi: 10.1002/cncr.21257.


The clinical heterogeneity of intermediate-risk prostate carcinoma presents a challenge to urologic oncology in terms of prognosis and management. There is controversy regarding whether patients with intermediate-risk prostate carcinoma should be treated with dose-escalated external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) (e.g., doses > 74 gray [Gy]), or conventional-dose EBRT (e.g., doses < 74 Gy) combined with androgen deprivation (AD). Data for this review were identified through searches for articles in MEDLINE and in conference proceedings, indexed from 1966 to 2004. Currently, the intermediate-risk prostate carcinoma grouping is defined on the basis of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), tumor classification (T classification), and Gleason score. Emerging evidence suggests that additional prognostic information may be derived from the percentage of positive core needle biopsies at the time of diagnosis and/or from the pretreatment PSA doubling time. Novel prognostic biomarkers include protein expression relating to cell cycle control, cell death, DNA repair, and intracellular signal transduction. Preclinical data support dose escalation or combined AD with radiation as a means to increase prostate carcinoma cell kill. There is Level I evidence that patients with intermediate-risk prostate carcinoma benefit from dose-escalated EBRT or AD plus conventional-dose EBRT. However, clinical evidence is lacking to support the uniform use of AD plus dose-escalated EBRT. Patients in the intermediate-risk group should be entered into well designed, randomized clinical trials of dose-escalated EBRT and AD with sufficient power to address biochemical failure and cause-specific survival endpoints. These studies should be stratified by novel prognostic markers and accompanied by strong translational endpoints to address clinical heterogeneity and to allow for individualized treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Risk