The ASCENDE-RT Study
The ASCENDE-RT (Androgen Suppression Combined with Elective Nodal and Dose Escalated Radiation Therapy) study was the first randomized clinical trial comparing brachytherapy to the traditional use of external beam radiation therapy to treat intermediate and high risk Prostate Cancer patients over a period of between 6 to 9 years.
The results show a significant increase in survival rates with an average of 50% of patients showing progression free survival when treated with LDR brachytherapy.
LDR brachytherapy is a form of radiation treatment that is a 45-minute procedure to place tiny radioactive “seeds” directly into the prostate.
The trial involved 398 patients, all of which had been diagnosed with intermediate or high-risk prostate cancer. They had no prior surgery or radiation treatment and their pre-trial PSA had to have been less than 40 to take part. The patients were randomly split into two groups.
200 of the 398 patients were in group 1. Their treatment comprised of 12 months continuous androgen deprivation therapy (ADT – a type of hormone therapy) and then, starting 8 months after initiation of the ADT, 4.2 to 5 weeks of external beam radiation (DE-EBRT) followed by an external beam radiation boost lasting 3.2 to 4 weeks.
The other 198 patients were in group 2. Similarly, their treatment comprised of 12 months continuous androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and then, starting 8 months after initiation of the ADT, 4.2 to 5 weeks of external beam radiation followed by low-dose rate brachytherapy using permanently implanted seeds (carried out 14 to 25 days after the last external beam treatment).