Low-Dose Hemibody Radiation, a Treatment Option for Recurrent Prostate Cancer: A Phase 2 Single-Arm Trial Academic Article uri icon

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  • Purpose

    Nontargeted low-dose ionizing radiation has been proposed as a cancer therapeutic for several decades; however, questions remain about the duration of hematological changes and optimal dosing regimen. Early studies delivering fractionated low doses of radiation to patients with cancer used varying doses and schedules, which make it difficult to standardize a successful dose and scheduling system for widespread use. The aim of this phase 2 two-stage trial was to determine whether low-dose radiation therapy (LD-RT) reduced prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in patients with recurrent prostate cancer in efforts to delay initiation of conventional therapies that are known to decrease quality of life. The primary study outcome was reduction in PSA levels by at least 50%.

    Methods and materials

    Sixteen patients with recurrent prostate cancer were recruited and received 2 doses of 150 mGy of nontargeted radiation per week, for 5 consecutive weeks, with 15 participants completing the study.


    A maximal response of 40.5% decrease in PSA at 3 months was observed. A total of 8 participants remained off any additional interventions, of whom 3 had minor fluctuations in PSA for at least 1 year after treatment. The most common adverse event reported was mild fatigue during active treatment (n = 4), which did not persist in the follow-up period. No participants withdrew due to safety concerns or hematological abnormalities (ie, platelet ≤50 × 109/L, leukocyte ≤3 × 109/L, granulocyte ≤2 × 109/L).


    Our study did not meet the primary objective; however, LD-RT may be a potential therapy for some patients with recurrent prostate cancer by stalling rising PSA. This study also demonstrates that low-dose radiation is well tolerated by participants with minimal toxicities and no change in quality of life.

publication date

  • January 2023