Send to

Choose Destination
N Engl J Med. 2012 Sep 6;367(10):895-903. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1201546.

Intermittent androgen suppression for rising PSA level after radiotherapy.

Author information

British Columbia Cancer Agency, Cancer Centre for the Southern Interior, 399 Royal Ave., Kelowna, BC V1Y 5L3, Canada.

Erratum in

  • N Engl J Med. 2012 Dec 6;367(23):2262.



Intermittent androgen deprivation for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) elevation after radiotherapy may improve quality of life and delay hormone resistance. We assessed overall survival with intermittent versus continuous androgen deprivation in a noninferiority randomized trial.


We enrolled patients with a PSA level greater than 3 ng per milliliter more than 1 year after primary or salvage radiotherapy for localized prostate cancer. Intermittent treatment was provided in 8-month cycles, with nontreatment periods determined according to the PSA level. The primary end point was overall survival. Secondary end points included quality of life, time to castration-resistant disease, and duration of nontreatment intervals.


Of 1386 enrolled patients, 690 were randomly assigned to intermittent therapy and 696 to continuous therapy. Median follow-up was 6.9 years. There were no significant between-group differences in adverse events. In the intermittent-therapy group, full testosterone recovery occurred in 35% of patients, and testosterone recovery to the trial-entry threshold occurred in 79%. Intermittent therapy provided potential benefits with respect to physical function, fatigue, urinary problems, hot flashes, libido, and erectile function. There were 268 deaths in the intermittent-therapy group and 256 in the continuous-therapy group. Median overall survival was 8.8 years in the intermittent-therapy group versus 9.1 years in the continuous-therapy group (hazard ratio for death, 1.02; 95% confidence interval, 0.86 to 1.21). The estimated 7-year cumulative rates of disease-related death were 18% and 15% in the two groups, respectively (P=0.24).


Intermittent androgen deprivation was noninferior to continuous therapy with respect to overall survival. Some quality-of-life factors improved with intermittent therapy. (Funded by the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute and others; number, NCT00003653.).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center