The role of active treatment in early prostate cancer
Clare :Elsevier sci ireland ltd
Radiotherapy and oncology. - Amsterdam
Symposium on Prostate Brachytherapy, MAY, 1999, ZEIST, NETHERLANDS
, p. 251-258
The dramatic increase in the number of patients diagnosed with localized prostate cancer in the last decade presents a difficult challenge for physicians. Because the window of opportunity for cure is short it is vital to begin treatment before the cancer cells invade neighbouring tissues and organs or metastasise to other sites. This pressure of increased patient. numbers provided clinicians with the opportunity to investigate other treatment options. New surgical techniques including laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, improving therapeutic radiation by the introduction of conformal radiotherapy, neutron radiation, cryosurgery, high intensity focussed ultrasound (HIF) and the revival of brachytherapy with or without external beam radiation are currently being investigated. The goal of these techniques is to treat localized prostate cancer based on the endpoints of disease specific mortality, no evidence of disease, absent or low levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), reduced side-effects, improved quality of life and importantly increased cost-efficacy. It is important to remember however, that watchful waiting and endocrine therapy are still valid therapy options in certain patient groups. The lack of randomized, prospective trials on local treatment of prostate cancer, makes it difficult to compare the efficacy of the different treatments, especially in terms of disease-specific survival. Trials are now in progress but it will be several years before results are available. In the meantime, we need to focus on surrogate endpoints, side effects, quality of life and the cost-efficacy of each treatment. It is also important to ensure that patients are kept informed and up-to-date with any new therapeutic developments. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.