To determine if iridium implant (IM) and external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is better than standard EBRT in locally advanced prostate cancer.
Patients with T2 and T3 prostate cancer with no evidence of metastatic disease were randomly assigned to EBRT of 66 Gy in 33 fractions during 6.5 weeks or to IM of 35 Gy delivered to the prostate during 48 hours plus EBRT of 40 Gy in 20 fractions during 4 weeks. The primary outcome consisted of biochemical or clinical failure (BCF). BCF was defined by biochemical failure, clinical failure, or death as a result of prostate cancer. Secondary outcomes included 2-year postradiation biopsy positivity, toxicity, and survival.
Between 1992 and 1997, 51 patients were randomly assigned to receive IM plus EBRT, and 53 patients were randomly assigned to receive EBRT alone. The median follow-up was 8.2 years. In the IM plus EBRT arm, 17 patients (29%) experienced BCF compared with 33 patients (61%) in the EBRT arm (hazard ratio, 0.42; P = .0024). Eighty-seven patients (84%) had a postradiation biopsy; 10 (24%) of 42 in the IM plus EBRT arm had biopsy positivity compared with 23 (51%) of 45 in the EBRT arm (odds ratio, 0.30; P = .015). Overall survival was 94% in the IM plus EBRT arm versus 92% in the EBRT arm.
The combination of IM plus EBRT was superior to EBRT alone for BCF and postradiation biopsy. This trial provides evidence that higher doses of radiation delivered in a shorter duration result in better local as well as biochemical control in locally advanced prostrate cancer.