A combined treatment of hormone therapy and radiotherapy for a period of six months can significantly boost the survival chances of men with locally advanced prostate cancer, a study has shown.
The research from an Australian study shows that over a 10-year period, the chances of survival for men who underwent the treatment were twice as much as those who just received radiotherapy.
Using hormone therapy for longer periods of time, which is known as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), can have significant side-effects such as impotence, hot flushes, fatigue, high cholesterol, anaemia, osteoporosis and heart damage.
The new approach involved neoadjuvant use of ADT before and during radiotherapy (NADT).
The study, which was published in the online edition of medical journal TheLancet Oncology, analysed 802 men with locally advanced prostate cancer who were either treated with radiotherapy alone, or three or six months of ADT plus radiotherapy.
Six months of ADT in conjunction with radiotherapy was associated with an 11% prostate cancer death rate over 10 years compared with 22% for men treated with radiotherapy alone.
The chances of death due to any cause were reduced by a third, from 29% to 43%.
But three months of the combination treatment had no effect on death rates or the likelihood of cancer spreading.