Mr. McDonnell received the treatment after he had secondary tumors in the spine and hip. (ABC News: Zalika Rizmal)
Emerging radiotherapy for advanced prostate cancer shows promising results after a small clinical trial in Melbourne.
The treatment could potentially provide thousands of men with the disease a pardon from the perspective of taking testosterone-blocking hormone drugs for the rest of their lives.
An estimated 1
Many men living with the disease need to initiate long-term hormone therapy that slows prostate cancer growth by blocking testosterone.
But the treatment is also associated with challenging side effects, including weight gain, loss of muscle mass and physical strength and menopausal-like symptoms, such as hot flashes, loss of libido and osteoporosis.
In an Australian study, scientists at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center treated 33 men with advanced prostate cancer who developed second-chance tumors with high-precision radiotherapy.
The single dose of Stereotactic Ablative Radiation Therapy (SABR) treats each tumor site with the utmost accuracy and can be performed in one hour during an outpatient visit.
The SABR treatment stopped the growth of cancerous spots in 93 percent of men.
After two years, about half of the men did not need hormone therapy, and more than one-third did not get the cancer.
Tony McDonnell, 77, of Mount Barker, South Australia, traveled to Melbourne to participate in the study.
Mr. McDonnell was placed on lifelong hormone treatment to inhibit the growth of secondary tumors after removing his prostate cancer in 2011.
However, Mr. McDonnell developed secondary tumors on his spine and hip
Since participating in the study, the secondary cancers have disappeared and he no longer has hormone therapy.
"I got rid of the bone cancer without pain and without side effects," Mr. McDonnell said.
"It's just awesome."
Dr. Siva said the first results of the study, in which Mr. McDonnell participated, were "very promising".
For a selected group of patients
Der Studienleiter Onkologie Dr. med. Shankar Siva said the first results are "very promising".
"It may be an attractive option to delay hormone therapy and its side effects in a select group of patients," said Associate Professor Siva.
"We still need to find out exactly who the best patients are who will benefit from this treatment."
Dr. Siva said planning for a large-scale international randomized clinical trial is underway to investigate whether the treatment could extend the life of prostate cancer patients.
The results of the study were published today in the medical journal European Urology.
Diseases and disorders,