Background: Prostate cancer might have high radiation-fraction sensitivity, implying a therapeutic advantage of hypofractionated treatment. We present a pre-planned preliminary safety analysis of side-effects in stages 1 and 2 of a randomised trial comparing standard and hypofractionated radiotherapy.
Methods: We did a multicentre, randomised study and recruited men with localised prostate cancer between Oct 18, 2002, and Aug 12, 2006, at 11 UK centres. Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive conventional or hypofractionated high-dose intensity-modulated radiotherapy, and all were given with 3-6 months of neoadjuvant androgen suppression. Computer-generated random permuted blocks were used, with risk of seminal vesicle involvement and radiotherapy-treatment centre as stratification factors. The conventional schedule was 37 fractions of 2 Gy to a total of 74 Gy. The two hypofractionated schedules involved 3 Gy treatments given in either 20 fractions to a total of 60 Gy, or 19 fractions to a total of 57 Gy. The primary endpoint was proportion of patients with grade 2 or worse toxicity at 2 years on the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) scale. The primary analysis included all patients who had received at least one fraction of radiotherapy and completed a 2 year assessment. Treatment allocation was not masked and clinicians were not blinded. Stage 3 of this trial completed the planned recruitment in June, 2011. This study is registered, number ISRCTN97182923.
Findings: 153 men recruited to stages 1 and 2 were randomly assigned to receive conventional treatment of 74 Gy, 153 to receive 60 Gy, and 151 to receive 57 Gy. With 50·5 months median follow-up (IQR 43·5-61·3), six (4·3%; 95% CI 1·6-9·2) of 138 men in the 74 Gy group had bowel toxicity of grade 2 or worse on the RTOG scale at 2 years, as did five (3·6%; 1·2-8·3) of 137 men in the 60 Gy group, and two (1·4%; 0·2-5·0) of 143 men in the 57 Gy group. For bladder toxicities, three (2·2%; 0·5-6·2) of 138 men, three (2·2%; 0·5-6·3) of 137, and none (0·0%; 97·5% CI 0·0-2·6) of 143 had scores of grade 2 or worse on the RTOG scale at 2 years.
Interpretation: Hypofractionated high-dose radiotherapy seems equally well tolerated as conventionally fractionated treatment at 2 years.
Funding: Stage 1 was funded by the Academic Radiotherapy Unit, Cancer Research UK programme grant; stage 2 was funded by the Department of Health and Cancer Research UK.
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