Medline: 8270459

International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 28(1): 47-54, 1993.

Photon versus fast neutron external beam radiotherapy in the treatment of locally advanced prostate cancer: results of a randomized prospective trial.

Russell KJ, Caplan RJ, Laramore GE, et al.


To evaluate the effectiveness of fast neutron radiation therapy in treatment of locally advanced carcinomas of the prostate.

AND MATERIALS: From April 1986 to October 1990, 178 patients were entered on a prospective, multi-institutional randomized study of the NCI-sponsored Neutron Therapy Collaborative Working Group. This trial compared external beam photon irradiation (7000-7020 cGy) with external beam neutron irradiation (2040 ncGy) for patients with high-grade T2 or T3-4, N0-1, M0 adenocarcinomas of the prostate. Eighty-nine patients were randomized to each treatment. Six patients were subsequently judged to be ineligible, leaving 85 photon and 87 neutron randomized patients eligible for analysis.

With a follow-up time ranging from 40 to 86 months (68 months median follow-up) the 5-year actuarial clinical local-regional failure rate for patients treated with neutrons was 11%, vs. 32% for photons (p < 0.01). Incorporating the results of routine posttreatment prostate biopsies, the resulting "histological" local-regional tumor failure rates were 13% for neutrons vs. 32% for photons (p = 0.01). To date, actuarial survival and cause-specific survival rates are statistically indistinguishable for the two patient cohorts, with 32% of the neutron-treated patient deaths and 41% of the photon-treated patient deaths caused by prostate cancer (p = n.s.). Prostate specific antigen (PSA) values were elevated in 17% of neutron-treated patients and 45% of photon-treated patients at 5 years (p < 0.001). Severe late complications of treatment were higher for the neutron-treated patients (11% vs. 3%), and were inversely correlated with the degree of neutron beam shaping available at the participating institutions. Neutron treatment delivery utilizing a fully rotational gantry and multileaf collimator did not result in an increase in severe late effects when compared to photon treatment.

High energy fast neutron radiotherapy is safe and effective when adequate beam delivery systems and collimation are available, and it is significantly superior to external beam photon radiotherapy in the local-regional treatment of large prostate tumors.

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