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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2005 Mar 1;61(3):695-701.

Role of prostate dose escalation in patients with greater than 15% risk of pelvic lymph node involvement.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA.



To determine whether the radiation dose is a determinant of clinical outcome in patients with a lymph node risk of >15% treated using whole pelvic (WP), partial pelvic (PP), or prostate only (PO) fields.


A total of 420 patients with prostate cancer treated with three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy with or without short-term androgen deprivation (STAD) between June 1989 and July 2000 were included in this study. Patients had an initial pretreatment prostate-specific antigen level of <100 ng/mL and a lymph node index of > or =15% or T2c tumors with a Gleason score of 6-10. No patient had radiologic evidence of lymph node involvement. Of the 460 patients, 48 were treated with PO, 74 with PP, and 298 with WP fields. The median prostate dose was 74 Gy for PO, 82 Gy for PP, and 76 Gy for WP. The median radiation dose to the pelvis was 46 Gy for both PP and WP. Of the 460 patients, 72 underwent STAD for a median of 3 months (range, 3-6 months). Cox regression multivariate analysis was used to identify independent predictors of freedom from biochemical failure (FFBF) defined according to the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology Oncology consensus guidelines. Univariate comparisons were done using the Kaplan-Meier method and the log-rank test.


At a median follow-up of 43 months, 121 patients had treatment failure: 22, 7, and 92 in the PO, PP, and WP arms, respectively. Independent predictors of FFBF in multivariate analysis included radiation dose, T stage, Gleason score, and initial prostate-specific antigen level. The 5-year FFBF rate by dose group was 48% for <73 Gy, 64% for 73-76.9 Gy, and 74% for > or =77 Gy (p = 0.002). The use of STAD and radiation field size were not significantly associated with FFBF.


The radiation dose was the most significant determinant of FFBF in patients with a lymph node risk >15% in the patient population studied. These data suggest that the primary tumor takes precedence over lymph node coverage or the use of STAD. Doses >70 Gy are of paramount importance in such intermediate- and high-risk patients.

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