SALT LAKE CITY — Intermountain Healthcare researchers and patients were part of an international study that found a highly effective treatment for prostate cancer patients whose cancer returns after surgery.
Surgery is a common "first-line" treatment for prostate cancer, with nearly one-third of the 300,000 people diagnosed in the United States every year receiving a partial or complete removal of the prostate.
But in up to 50 percent of cases, a marker for prostate cancer is found after surgery.
But the study showed that hormone therapy plus radiation therapy is the most effective "second-line" treatment, with 87 percent of cancer patients having no recurrence within five years.
“Treating these patients with radiation and hormone therapy is not uncommon, but that radiation treatment has typically only been to the prostate bed,” said R. Jeffrey Lee, MD, researcher, and radiation oncologist at Intermountain Healthcare.
“We’ve found that also targeting the lymph nodes can make a vast difference in preventing prostate cancer from coming back.”
The new study, which was published in The Lancet, was conducted at 283 radiation oncology cancer treatment centers in Canada, Israel, and the United States, including Intermountain Healthcare.
While radiation treatment alone significantly reduced recurrence, the combination of therapies gave the best results.
“The lymph nodes of these patients are part of the overall picture of these patient’s prostate cancer and should be treated,” Dr. Lee said.
“Based on these findings, urologists and patients should know that if they have surgery for prostate cancer and their PSA does not go to zero or starts rising again, they need to be a referred to a radiation specialist, sooner rather than later.”
For more information on the study, click here.