Astro LogoThis news may be of interest to prostate cancer patients. Moderately to severely obese prostate cancer patients may have improved treatment results when treated with image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) over conventional external beam radiation therapy (EBRT). IGRT supposedly corrects for prostate shifts, which, if not planned for, may result in inaccurate doses of radiation to the disease site. This is according to a study at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center, Morristown Memorial Hospital in Morristown, N.J., and the Uematsu-Atsuchi-Serendipity Oncology Center in Terukuni, Kagoshima, Japan.

Numerous studies have implied that obesity may lead to higher rates of clinical reappearance or biochemical failure rates in prostate cancer patients receiving ERBT. The study sought to verify if these failure rates were apparently caused by the treatment modality used rather than the fact that the patients were supposedly obese.

The experts found that moderately to severely obese prostate cancer patients i.e. with a body mass index of greater than 35 do have bigger prostate shifts at the time of treatment. This may result in radiation treatments not being delivered to the same spot each day, potentially compromising the treatment. The percentage of the moderately to severely obese patients with a left to right change of greater than 10 millimeters was 21.2 percent as opposed to only 1.3 percent for patients of a standard weight.

Normal EBRT is apparently used by IGRT which is a new kind of radiation therapy. It is directed by imaging like CT scans, ultrasound or X-rays taken in the treatment room just before the patient is given radiation on an everyday basis. As part of the planning process, all patients may receive imaging scans. But with IGRT, the doctors are apparently able to compare the previous images with those taken before each treatment to regulate the dose if needed.

The results may be impacted by the radiation treatment modality therapy. IGRT may agree for correction of target displacements from the planned position prior to radiation delivery starts, so shifts may be corrected effortlessly and thus may result in better control rates for obese prostate cancer patients.

James R. Wong, M.D., lead author of the study and chair of radiation oncology at Morristown Memorial Hospital,commented “All patients deserve the treatment that is going to give them the best chance at cure and survival.”

He further mentioned that with the results of this study, they now know that obese patients may have a unique complication when it comes to planning their treatment but they can try to correct it simply by using IGRT instead of EBRT. He encourages overweight men and their families to talk to their doctors about IGRT when considering their treatment options.

This study was published in the September issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).