Radiotherapy for prostate cancer – Does daily image guidance with tighter margins improve patient reported outcomes compared to weekly orthogonal verified irradiation? Results from a randomized controlled trial
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionRadiotherapy and Oncology. 2018, 126 (2), 229-235. 10.1016/j.radonc.2017.10.029
Background Novel cancer drugs are subject to strict scientific evaluation of safety and efficacy and usually undergo a cost effectiveness analysis before approval for use in clinical practice. For new techniques in radiotherapy (RT) such as image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), this is often not the case. We performed a randomized controlled trial to compare daily cone beam computer tomography (CBCT) IGRT with reduced planning target volume (PTV) margins vs weekly orthogonal portal imaging with conventional PTV margins. The primary aim of the study was to investigate the effect of two different image guidance techniques on patient reported outcome (PRO) using early side effects as proxy outcome of late rectal side effects in patients receiving curative RT for prostate cancer. Methods This open label, phase 3 trial conducted at two RT centers in Norway enrolled men aged 18 years or older with previously untreated histologically proven intermediate or high-risk adenocarcinoma of the prostate. Patients eligible for radical RT received it after 3 months of total androgen blockage and were randomly assigned to 78 Gy in 39 fractions guided either by weekly offline orthogonal portal imaging (15 mm margins to PTV) or by daily online CBCT IGRT (7 mm margins to PTV). Based on previous results indicating that acute rectal side effects are a valid proxy outcome for late rectal side effects, the primary outcome was acute rectal toxicity at end of RT as evaluated by rectal bother scale (five of the items from PRO’s QUFW94). The RIC-trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01550237. Findings Between October 2012 and June 2015, 257 patients were randomly assigned to weekly offline portal imaging (n = 129) or daily online CBCT IGRT (n = 128). Out of 250 evaluable patients, 96% completed PROs at baseline and 97% at end of RT. Baseline analyses demonstrated balance between groups for baseline characteristics as well as for PROs. In general, patients reported a small degree of side effects at end of RT, and there was no difference between groups for primary outcome (rectal bother scale of QUFW94 1.871 vs 1.884, p = 0.804). In addition, there were no significant differences between groups for any other gastrointestinal or urinary symptom as reported by QUFW94. Health related quality of life analyses (EORTC QLQ 30) demonstrated no differences between groups. Interpretation In radical RT for prostate cancer, daily CBCT IGRT with reduced PTV margins demonstrated no advantage with respect to patient reported side effects at end of RT as compared to weekly orthogonal offline portal imaging with standard PTV margins.