WASHINGTON, D.C.—Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) has largely replaced 3D external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) as the preferred radiation treatment for localized prostate cancer (PCa), according to data presented at the American Urological Association 2011 annual meeting.

That is the conclusion of a study conducted by Matthew J. O’Shaughnessy, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare dataset, the group studied 42,151 men who underwent primary radiotherapy for localized PCa from 2000 to 2008. Among patients treated with radiotherapy, the proportion of those treated with IMRT, with or without brachytherapy, rose from less than 1% in 2000 to 69% in 2008, the study showed. The growth in IMRT use came at the expense of 3D EBRT. Brachytherapy use remained stable during the observation period. The study also showed that the increased use of IMRT did not affect radical prostatectomy rates.

Dr. O’Shaughnessy, who is a urology resident, said the one of the likely factors contributing to the increased use of IMRT was a favorable change in reimbursement in 2000. In addition, clinicians may have switched from 3D EBRT to IMRT because the latter enables higher radiation doses to be delivered to the prostate more safely.

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