Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy in patients with prostate cancer
Prostate is the most common non-cutaneous cancer diagnosed among men in North America. Fortunately most prostate cancers are screen detected and non-metastatic on diagnosis. Treatment options for men with localized prostate cancer include surgery ± postoperative radiation or radiation ± androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Brachytherapy ± external beam radiation treatment (EBRT) appears to have superior longterm disease control over EBRT alone likely because of higher biologic effective dose delivered. Stereotactic ablative body radiation (SABR) is a novel, non-invasive, high-precision EBRT technique that allows safe delivery of biologic doses similar to brachytherapy with similar or lower side effects [measured using toxicity or quality of life (QOL) scales]. Efficacy for SABR appears to be similar to brachytherapy including positive biopsy rates 2–3 years post treatment, biochemical failure (BF) rates out to 10-year and incidence of metastases. SABR dose escalation reduces biopsy positivity and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) nadirs but increases genitourinary (GU) and gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity—no effect on BF has been realized yet. The overall treatment time (OTT) varies in many protocols. Phase 2 randomized data shows that QOL is better in the acute setting with a weekly course of treatment compared to an every other day treatment regimen with no difference in late setting. Follow-up data are immature and likely underpowered to determine efficacy differences. SABR is cheaper and uses less resource than any other radiation technique. Given the healthcare resource challenges (including financial resources), SABR would be a welcomed addition if studies show non-inferiority to other radiation techniques. For patients with de novo or metastatic disease on relapse, there is much enthusiasm regarding the use of SABR in the setting of oligometastatic prostate cancer. SABR appears to be feasible to deliver, well tolerated and may delay the next line of therapy. However, until adequately powered randomized studies confirm a benefit, such an approach cannot be considered standard of care treatment at this time. Enrollment of eligible prostate cancer patients onto SABR clinical trials should be encouraged.