Short-term hormonal therapy increases overall survival in patients with prostate cancer, according to a study presented at the 2010 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.

For the study, David McGowan, MD, of the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Alberta, and colleagues followed 1,979 men who were randomized to hormonal therapy plus radiation or radiation therapy alone. Men treated with the combination therapy received 4 months of total androgen suppression given prior to and during radiation therapy.

Follow-up after 12 years revealed that the overall survival in the hormone-plus-radiation group was 51% compared to 46% in the radiation-only group. Furthermore, upon rebiopsy, 78% of biopsies from patients in the hormone-plus-radiation group were negative, whereas 60% of  biopsies were cancer-free among patients in the radiation-only group.

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“There doesn’t seem to be any disadvantage to the addition of hormonal treatment to radiation,” Dr. McGowan concluded. “We can recommend the use of hormonal therapy with radiation in high-risk and intermediate-risk patients, but not for low-risk patients.”