The EORTC Radiation Oncology and Genito-Urinary Tract Cancer Groups reported results of the EORTC 22961 trial on long term or short term androgen suppression combined with irradiation in locally advanced prostate cancer in a paper by Bolla et al. in the 11 June 2009 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. It is known that combined use of external beam radiotherapy and androgen suppression therapy lasting three years or longer improves overall survival in patients with locally advanced prostate cancer. Still, such long-term androgen suppression therapy can lead to a reduced quality of life for these patients coupled with increased risks of fractures, metabolic syndrome, and possibly myocardial infarction. The question then is if these risks might be lowered and the survival benefit maintained by using a shorter term androgen suppression therapy of only six months duration. In this EORTC study it was found that radiotherapy in combination with short-term (six months) androgen suppression therapy does not maintain the survival benefit achieved with long-term (three years) androgen suppression therapy.
M. Bolla, T. De Reijke, G. Van Tienhoven, A. Van den Bergh, J. Oddens, P. Poortmans, E. Gez, P. Kil, A. Akdas, G. Soete, O. Kariakine, E. van der Steen-Banasik, E. Musat, M. Piérart, M. Mauer, L. Collette, for the EORTC Radiation Oncology Group and Genitor-Urinary Tract Cancer Group. Long term or short term androgen suppression combined with irradiation in locally advanced prostate cancer. N Engl J Med, 360 (24): 2009.