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Image-guided adaptive radiation treatments reduce short-term side effects for patients with prostate

A new study published in Cancer has found that image-guided adaptive radiation treatments (MRg-A-SBRT) can reduce short-term side effects for patients with prostate cancer.

MRg-A-SBRT is a type of radiation therapy that uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to guide the radiation beams. This allows doctors to more accurately target the prostate gland while avoiding nearby tissue, such as the bladder and rectum.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital, looked at data from 29 clinical trials that included a total of 2,547 patients. The results showed that patients who received MRg-A-SBRT had significantly fewer urinary and bowel side effects in the short term following radiation than patients who received conventional radiation therapy.

Specifically, the risk of urinary incontinence was 44% lower and the risk of bowel problems was 60% lower in patients who received MRg-A-SBRT.

The study's lead author, Dr. Jonathan E. Leeman, said that the findings provide "support for use of this treatment in the management of prostate cancer."

However, Dr. Leeman noted that the study also raises some questions. For example, it is not yet clear whether the short-term benefits of MRg-A-SBRT will translate into long-term benefits. Additionally, it is not yet clear which aspect of the MRg-A-SBRT technology is responsible for the improved outcomes.

"Further studies will be needed to answer these questions," said Dr. Leeman.

Despite these unanswered questions, the study's findings suggest that MRg-A-SBRT may be a promising new treatment option for patients with prostate cancer. The study's authors concluded that "MRg-A-SBRT is a feasible and safe treatment for prostate cancer that is associated with significant reductions in short-term urinary and bowel toxicity."

Journal Information: Jonathan E. Leeman et al, Acute toxicity comparison of magnetic resonance‐guided adaptive versus fiducial or computed tomography‐guided non‐adaptive prostate stereotactic body radiotherapy: A systematic review and meta‐analysis, Cancer (2023). DOI: 10.1002/cncr.34836
Peter A. S. Johnstone, Magnetic resonance guidance is enough for prostate cancer: save adaptation for the patients it will really help, Cancer (2023). DOI: 10.1002/cncr.34835
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