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High Dose Radiation Treatments Require Precision; Study Shows Prostate Remains Relatively Stable During Treatment

PHILADELPHIA (November 7, 2001) -- Researchers show that the prostate remains stable during radiation therapy treatment. These findings will be presented by in a poster session by Dennis Mah, Ph.D., physicist in the Radiation Oncology Department at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pa., at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Ca. on Wednesday, November 7 at 10:15 a.m. PT.

"Technologies allow us to locate the prostate prior to each treatment and then to deliver the radiation precisely, but we wanted to find out if the prostate remained in the same position throughout the treatment," said Mah.

Previous studies have demonstrated that higher doses are possible when treating prostate cancer because of the precision of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). This technique allows the radiation oncologist to sculpt the radiation to the tumor, thus avoiding irradiation of organs and tissues nearby. Because of the accuracy of this treatment, higher doses of radiation can be delivered. Higher radiation doses increase the chance for a cure in some prostate cancers.

For the study, 42 patients were scanned in an MRI housed in the Department of Radiation Oncology. A time lapse "movie" was made of the internal anatomy.

"No significant motion was detected," said Mah. "Most of the prostate motion was near the base, but this motion is less than typical setup errors and should not affect intensity modulated radiation therapy or conformal treatments of radiation therapy.

"High dose radiation therapy has been shown to increase the cure rate of prostate cancer," Mah continued. "This information further supports our ability to precisely deliver high dose therapy when precision of treatment is paramount. Given the conclusions of this and other studies, we know that we can precisely design treatment plans involving the prostate that will be accurate on the first and last day of treatment."

Other authors on this Fox Chase Cancer Center study are Gary Freedman, M.D., Bart Milestone M.D., Benjamin Movsas M.D., Raj Mitra M.S., Eric Horwitz M.D., and G.E. Hanks, M.D.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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