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Weekly Edition - Published  11 August 2016


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Ground breaking research into prostate cancer treatment at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre

PROSTRATE cancer patients are being invited to take part in a trial that hopes to establish whether just five treatments of radiotherapy are as good as surgery for fighting the disease.

The ground breaking research is taking place at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust and is aimed at men who are diagnosed at an early stage of the disease.

The Prostate Advances in Comparative Evidence (PACE) trial follows the results of the CHHiP trial, a major study released last year which found that fewer, higher doses of radiotherapy are as effective as giving lower doses for a longer period, effectively cutting the number of treatments prostate cancer patients need.

As well as examining the surgery versus radiotherapy option, in a separate arm, PACE will investigate whether the number of radiotherapy treatments can be reduced even further by administering greater doses with higher accuracy, a technique called stereotactic radiotherapy, or SABR. This will see participants having just 5 sessions, as opposed to the 20 recommended after the CHHiP research.

The first participant for PACE at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre has already been treated and it is expected that more men will come forward to take part in the trial over the coming weeks and months. Suitable patients will be offered a place on the trial by their oncologist and surgeon, then, if they agree to take part, will be selected at random for surgery or SABR radiotherapy. For those that wish to avoid radiotherapy, the selection will be between standard radiotherapy over four weeks or SABR radiotherapy.

The PACE Study is coming to The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre after early work on SABR for prostate cancer at The Royal Marsden and Mount Vernon hospitals. The trial is now an international collaboration led by The Royal Marsden with more UK and Canadian cancer centres joining the effort.

Dr Shaun Tolan, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, and member of the study's Trial Management Group, said:- "The PACE trial is looking at the new SABR technique of giving just five treatments in 5 days of higher dose, highly targeted radiotherapy and comparing that to surgery or, in men who don't want an operation, to 20 standard treatments over 4 weeks. We've already seen prostate radiotherapy schedules slashed from 7˝ weeks to 4 weeks and now PACE is looking at the possibility of treating men in 1 week. This would be a very attractive option for men who wish to avoid surgery or for men who are concerned about the tiredness associated with lots of travelling and the disruption to work and family life caused by many weeks of treatment."

Robert Croft, 62, from Chester, was the first patient to take part in the PACE trial at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, undergoing five radiotherapy treatments in a week at the hospital in Merseyside.

He was told about the PACE trial and was asked to decide what suited him better, surgery or radiotherapy. "I'm not medical. I just had to weigh up which seemed the most practical for me. Over two or three days the decision formed; I would choose the radiotherapy trial. I learnt I was to be the 1st patient at Clatterbridge. That didn't worry me. I have been taken very good care of."

He said the chance to have a shorter course of radiotherapy treatment appealed to him, adding:- "It meant my summer being less disrupted and my momentum less deflected."

Robert said he had been impressed by his treatment and the staff at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre.

He added:- "This is a place where extraordinary things happen for ordinary people."


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