A Hunter-led prostate cancer trial using hormone therapy to impede testosterone levels, in conjunction with radiotherapy, has yielded promising clinical results, according to chief investigator Professor Jim Denham*.

The initial findings of the RADAR (Randomised Androgen Deprivation and Radiotherapy) Trial are published today in the international journal The Lancet Oncology.

Toxicity and quality-of-life effects were studied in a cohort of 1000 men recruited between 2003-2007 across 23 cancer centres in Australia and New Zealand.

“We are aiming to see whether 18 months of hormone therapy is superior to the standard six months of treatment,” Professor Denham said. “The study is also testing whether use of the drug Zometa can prevent losses in bone mineral density caused by hormones and also prevent the spread of secondary cancers into the skeleton.

“We obviously want better treatment outcomes but not at the price of severe side effects. I am highly encouraged by the quality-of-life findings, which are considerably better than anticipated.”

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* Professor Denham is a radiation oncologist at the Calvary Mater Newcastle and a Conjoint Professor with the University of Newcastle. He is Director of the Prostate Cancer Trials Group, in collaboration with the Hunter Medical Research Institute’s Cancer Research Program. HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.