New device will protect prostate cancer patients during radiation treatment

An innovation that can reduce the side-effects of radiotherapy for prostate cancer patients by over 70 per cent will be rolled out across the NHS, as part of the Long Term Plan to put cutting-edge treatments at the heart of people’s care.

Thanks to a deal struck by the NHS with manufacturer Boston Scientific, hospitals in England will now be encouraged to use its hydrogel device for all patients who could benefit, making radiotherapy a safer and less painful treatment option for many men.

The hydrogel acts as a spacer, reducing the amount of radiation that can pass through the prostate and damage the rectum during treatment, by temporarily positioning it away from the high dose radiation used in treatment.

The gel, made mostly of water, is injected before treatment starts and then remains in place during radiation therapy, before being naturally absorbed by the body after about 6 months.

In studies, its use has been shown to relatively reduce life-changing side effects, such as rectal pain, bleeding and diarrhoea, by over 70%, meaning significant improvements in quality of life for those battling prostate cancer.

Full story at NHS England

[NICE Guideline] Prostate cancer: diagnosis and management [NG131]

NICE |  May 2019 | Prostate cancer: diagnosis and management NICE guideline [NG131]

This guideline covers the diagnosis and management of prostate cancer in secondary care, including information on the best way to diagnose and identify different stages of the disease, and how to manage adverse effects of treatment. It also includes recommendations on follow-up in primary care for people diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Full details from NICE 

Improving patient experience through stratification of the prostate cancer follow up pathway

Atlas of Shared Learning | March 2019| Improving patient experience through stratification of the prostate cancer follow up pathway

A recent addition to NHS England’s Atlas of Shared Learning is a case study that comes from nurses in the Urology Unit at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust who led the development and implementation of a new prostate cancer follow-up pathway. This pathway has significantly improved patient outcomes, experience and use of resources locally (Source: NHS England).

Read the case study at NHS England 

National Prostate Cancer Audit: Annual Report 2018

Health Quality Improvement Partnership | February 2019 | National Prostate Cancer Audit: Annual Report 2018

Health Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) have published the results of their national prostate cancer audit in the report National Prostate Cancer Audit: Annual Report 2018.

There are over 40,000 new diagnoses of prostate cancer every year in the UK and over 11,000 men die because of the disease. This makes prostate cancer the second most common cause of cancer-related death for men in the UK.

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Image source: hqip.org.uk

 

This report presents results for men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1st April 2016 and 31st March 2017 in England and Wales. It reports on specific diagnostic, staging and treatment information as well as core performance indicators in order to compare diagnostic specialist MDTs or treatment centres. This is the first report which combines English and Welsh data as well as using patient-reported experience (PREMs) and outcome measures (PROMs) as performance indicators.

Reporting on a total of 14 performance indicators, the NPCA is the first national audit which is able to report on process and outcome measures from all aspects of the care pathway for men with prostate cancer (Source: HQIP).

Download it from HQIP

Radiotherapy benefits some men whose prostate cancer has spread to their bones

NIHR | January 2019 | Radiotherapy benefits some men whose prostate cancer has spread to their bones

An NIHR Signal highlights a trial part-funded by NIHR, published in October 2018, which compared the effects of standard care with or without radiotherapy to the prostate on overall survival for over 2000 men.  The standard treatment for men with metastatic prostate cancer is anti-androgen hormone therapy, and this is sometimes combined with chemotherapy. Radiotherapy of the prostate itself is only usually used for symptom relief.

The trial found that radiotherapy improved three-year survival rate from 73 to 81% in men with a limited number of metastases confined to the spine and pelvis. In this group, it also prevented any disease progression over three years in half of them compared to a third on standard care.

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STAMPEDE was a randomised controlled trial  that took place in more than 100 hospitals in Switzerland and the UK. Over 2,000 men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer with metastases, confirmed on a bone scan, were recruited to the study.

Participants were randomised to either standard care (lifelong anti-androgen hormone therapy, with or without chemotherapy using docetaxel) or standard care plus radiotherapy to the prostate.

This study adds further evidence that radiotherapy could benefit men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer with local metastases.

The trial used CT and bone scans to define low and high metastatic burden. PET scans, which can detect smaller cancer deposits, are becoming widely available and may allocate people differently.

Treating the primary once the cancer has metastasised has conventionally thought to be futile. This has been challenged by finding that in low metastatic burden prostate cancer, radiotherapy to the primary significantly improves survival and should become standard of care.

This study raises the issue whether this would apply to other cancers and interesting biological questions as to the mechanism. Is it an effect of debulking the primary?  Is it immunological?  Is it due to reducing secondary spread of aggressive clones?

It seems we have underestimated in prostate cancer, the impact of local control in the setting of metastatic disease

Professor Robert Huddart, Reader and Honorary Consultant, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust 

(Source: NIHR)

NIHR Radiotherapy benefits some men whose prostate cancer has spread to their bones

 

 Parker, C.  et al | 2018| Radiotherapy to the primary tumour for newly diagnosed, metastatic prostate cancer (STAMPEDE): a randomised controlled phase 3 trial|  The Lancet| 

 

Background
Based on previous findings, we hypothesised that radiotherapy to the prostate would improve overall survival in men with metastatic prostate cancer, and that the benefit would be greatest in patients with a low metastatic burden. We aimed to compare standard of care for metastatic prostate cancer, with and without radiotherapy.
Methods
We did a randomised controlled phase 3 trial at 117 hospitals in Switzerland and the UK. Eligible patients had newly diagnosed metastatic prostate cancer. We randomly allocated patients open-label in a 1:1 ratio to standard of care (control group) or standard of care and radiotherapy (radiotherapy group). Randomisation was stratified by hospital, age at randomisation, nodal involvement, WHO performance status, planned androgen deprivation therapy, planned docetaxel use (from December, 2015), and regular aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use. Standard of care was lifelong androgen deprivation therapy, with up-front docetaxel permitted from December, 2015. Men allocated radiotherapy received either a daily (55 Gy in 20 fractions over 4 weeks) or weekly (36 Gy in six fractions over 6 weeks) schedule that was nominated before randomisation. The primary outcome was overall survival, measured as the number of deaths; this analysis had 90% power with a one-sided α of 2·5% for a hazard ratio (HR) of 0·75. Secondary outcomes were failure-free survival, progression-free survival, metastatic progression-free survival, prostate cancer-specific survival, and symptomatic local event-free survival. Analyses used Cox proportional hazards and flexible parametric models, adjusted for stratification factors. The primary outcome analysis was by intention to treat. Two prespecified subgroup analyses tested the effects of prostate radiotherapy by baseline metastatic burden and radiotherapy schedule.
Findings
Between Jan 22, 2013, and Sept 2, 2016, 2061 men underwent randomisation, 1029 were allocated the control and 1032 radiotherapy. Allocated groups were balanced, with a median age of 68 years (IQR 63–73) and median amount of prostate-specific antigen of 97 ng/mL (33–315). 367 (18%) patients received early docetaxel. 1082 (52%) participants nominated the daily radiotherapy schedule before randomisation and 979 (48%) the weekly schedule. 819 (40%) men had a low metastatic burden, 1120 (54%) had a high metastatic burden, and the metastatic burden was unknown for 122 (6%). Radiotherapy improved failure-free survival but not overall survival. Radiotherapy was well tolerated, with 48 (5%) adverse events (Radiation Therapy Oncology Group grade 3–4) reported during radiotherapy and 37 (4%) after radiotherapy. The proportion reporting at least one severe adverse event (Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events grade 3 or worse) was similar by treatment group in the safety population (398 [38%] with control and 380 [39%] with radiotherapy).
Interpretation
Radiotherapy to the prostate did not improve overall survival for unselected patients with newly diagnosed metastatic prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer ultrasound treatment as effective as surgery or radiotherapy

Using high energy ultrasound beams to destroy prostate cancer tumours may be as effective as surgery or radiotherapy, but with fewer side effects | European Urology | via ScienceDaily

A new study, carried out at six hospitals across the UK, tracked 625 men with prostate cancer who received a type of treatment called high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU).

The research, published in the journal European Urology, is the largest ever study of HIFU treatment used to target prostate tumours. The treatment is similar to a ‘lumpectomy’ for other cancers — where doctors remove only tumour cells, leaving as much healthy tissue as possible.

The findings, from a number of institutions including Imperial College London and University College London, found that after five years the cancer survival rate from HIFU was 100 per cent. Approximately, 1 in 10 men needed further treatment. The cancer survival rate from surgery and radiotherapy is also 100 per cent at five years.

The research also showed the risk of side effects of HIFU, such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction, were lower than other treatment options, at 2 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.

Full story at ScienceDaily

Journal reference: Guillaumier, S. et al. | A Multicentre Study of 5-year Outcomes Following Focal Therapy in Treating Clinically Significant Nonmetastatic Prostate Cancer |European Urology, 2018