Purpose: To delineate changing trends in radical external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) for prostate cancer in Japan.
Methods and materials: Data from 841 patients with clinically localized prostate cancer treated with EBRT in the Japanese Patterns of Care Study (PCS) from 1996 to 2005 were analyzed.
Results: Significant increases in the proportions of patients with stage T1 to T2 disease and decrease in prostate-specific antigen values were observed. Also, there were significant increases in the percentages of patients treated with radiotherapy by their own choice. Median radiation doses were 65.0 Gy and 68.4 Gy from 1996 to 1998 and from 1999 to 2001, respectively, increasing to 70 Gy from 2003 to 2005. Moreover, conformal therapy was more frequently used from 2003 to 2005 (84.9%) than from 1996 to 1998 (49.1%) and from 1999 to 2001 (50.2%). On the other hand, the percentage of patients receiving hormone therapy from 2003 to 2005 (81.1%) was almost the same as that from 1996 to 1998 (86.3%) and from 1999 to 2001 (89.7%). Compared with the PCS in the United States, patient characteristics and patterns of treatments from 2003 to 2005 have become more similar to those in the United States than those from 1996 to 1998 and those from 1999 to 2001.
Conclusions: This study indicates a trend toward increasing numbers of patients with early-stage disease and increasing proportions of patients treated with higher radiation doses with advanced equipment among Japanese prostate cancer patients treated with EBRT during 1996 to 2005 survey periods. Patterns of care for prostate cancer in Japan are becoming more similar to those in the United States.
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