Sylvester’s Chair of Radiation Oncology Delivers Plenary Presentation at ASTRO

At the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), Alan Pollack, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, presented the results of one of four studies selected for the plenary session because of the significance of their findings.

“This study, led by Dr. Pollack, will change the way many prostate cancer patients are treated. The fact that his abstract was chosen for presentation in the Plenary among 2200 abstracts speaks to the impact these findings will have,” said Sylvester Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D. “We are proud that research led by Sylvester researchers, together with collaborators in other countries, continues to garner high-profile recognition.”

The SPPORT trial, is an international RTOG/NRG Oncology sponsored cooperative group trial. As lead author, Dr. Pollack presented the findings that for men with evidence of return of prostate cancer after prostate surgery (prostatectomy), extending radiation therapy to the pelvic lymph nodes in combination with short-term hormone therapy had clear benefits over treating to the prostate surgical bed with radiation therapy only or the bed plus short-term hormone therapy.

Dr. Pollack noted that “the trial examined the effectiveness of short-term hormone therapy and pelvic lymph node radiation therapy in reducing the rate of return of the cancer within a five-year period. Of the three treatments tested, the best results were far and away from the combination that included radiation therapy to the pelvic lymph nodes. Moreover, short term hormone therapy was also an important component.”

The 1,792 men studied were from the U.S., Canada and Israel, and had persistent or rising prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels after prostate removal. After five years, 89.1 percent of those with lymph node and hormone treatment were free from disease progression, compared to 71.7 percent of patients who had radiation only to the prostate bed.

“The results were so compelling that they were released ahead of schedule. At Sylvester, we quickly implemented changes to our prostate cancer treatment approach based on the findings — a paradigm shift that is already changing practice patterns internationally,” said Dr. Pollack.

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