Prostate cancer is the second most prevalent solid tumor diagnosed in men in the United States and Western Europe. Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is touted as a superior type of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) for the treatment of various tumors. SBRT developed from the theory that high doses of radiation from brachytherapy implant seeds could be recapitulated from advanced technology of radiation treatment planning and delivery. Moreover, SBRT has been theorized to be advantageous compared to other RT techniques because it has a treatment course shorter than that of conventionally fractionated EBRT (a single session, five days per week, for about two weeks vs. eight weeks), is non-invasive, is more effective at killing tumor cells, and is less likely to cause damage to normal tissue. In areas of the US and Europe where there is limited access to RT centers, SBRT is frequently being used to treat prostate cancer, even though long-term data about its efficacy and safety are not well established. We review the impetus behind SBRT and the current clinical evidence supporting its use for prostate cancer, thus providing oncologists and primary care physicians with an understanding of the continually evolving field of prostate radiation therapy. Studies of SBRT provide encouraging results of biochemical control and late toxicity. However, they are limited by a number of factors, including short follow-up, exclusion of intermediate- and high-risk patients, and relatively small number of patients treated. Currently, SBRT regimens should only be used in the context of clinical trials.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging