Targeted Radiation Therapy Minimizes GI Side Effects for Prostate Cancer Patients, Penn Study Shows

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Media Contact:Holly Auer | holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu | 215-349-5659 October 26, 2010

SAN DIEGO -- Prostate cancer patients who receive intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) are less apt to suffer serious gastrointestinal complications following their treatment than those who receive three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (CRT), according to new research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The study, which will be presented Nov. 1 at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) in San Diego, found that men who were treated with IMRT had fewer serious bowel complications, including painful rectal inflammation and bleeding (3.5 percent), compared to those who received CRT (4.5 percent).

“While radiotherapy is highly effective in treating prostate cancer, men may live with gastrointestinal, urinary and sexual side effects of treatment for many years. Minimizing these side effects and improving men’s quality of life after prostate cancer treatment is incredibly important,” says Justin Bekelman, MD, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “Our study offers important evidence to patients and their doctors that IMRT is associated with fewer gastrointestinal problems after treatment.”

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