Future Directions From Past Experience: A Century of Prostate Radiotherapy
Ward MC, Tendulkar RD, Ciezki JP, Klein EA. Clin Genitourin Cancer. 2013 Oct 26. pii: S1558-7673(13)00206-1. doi: 10.1016/j.clgc.2013.08.003. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed noncutaneous malignancy in men, yet 100 years ago it was considered a rare disease. Over the past century, radiation therapy has evolved from a radium source placed in the urethra to today's advanced proton therapy delivered by only a few specialized centers. As techniques in radiation have evolved, the treatment of localized prostate cancer has become one of the most debated topics in oncology. Today, patients with prostate cancer must often make a difficult decision between multiple treatment modalities, each with the risk of permanent sequelae, without robust randomized data to compare every treatment option. Meanwhile, opinions of urologists and radiation oncologists about the risks and benefits involved with each modality vary widely. Further complicating the issue is rapidly advancing technology which often outpaces clinical data. This article represents a complete description of the evolution of prostate cancer radiation therapy with the goal of illuminating the historical basis for current challenges facing oncologists and their patients.