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Androgen Suppression Length Important in Prostate Cancer

Last Updated: June 10, 2009.

In combination with radiation treatment, androgen suppression is effective in increasing survival in men with prostate cancer, but only when given for several years, according to a study in the June 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

WEDNESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- In combination with radiation treatment, androgen suppression is effective in increasing survival in men with prostate cancer, but only when given for several years, according to a study in the June 11 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Michel Bolla, M.D., from Regional Universitaire de Grenoble in France, and colleagues randomly assigned 970 men with locally advanced prostate cancer, who had received radiation and androgen suppression for six months, to no further treatment (short-term suppression) or an additional 2.5 years of treatment with a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist (long-term suppression).

After a median follow-up of 6.4 years, the researchers observed 132 deaths in the short-term suppression group and 98 deaths in the long-term group. Prostate cancer was the cause of death in 47 and 28 patients, respectively. The short-term suppression group had higher five-year overall mortality (19.0 versus 15.2 percent; hazard ratio, 1.42) and higher five-year prostate cancer-specific mortality (4.7 versus 3.2 percent; hazard ratio, 1.71). Fatigue, reduced sexual function, and hot flushes were the most common adverse events.

"The combination of radiotherapy plus six months of androgen suppression provides inferior survival as compared with radiotherapy plus three years of androgen suppression in the treatment of locally advanced prostate cancer," Bolla and colleagues conclude.

The study was supported by Ipsen Pharma and three other sources. Two authors reported financial and consulting relationships with several pharmaceutical companies.

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