Hormone therapy can delay prostate cancer spread in people treated with surgery and radiotherapy

20 Sep 2022

People with prostate cancer who have had surgery to remove their prostate, and then receive radiotherapy, can benefit from hormone therapy. This is according to results from the RADICALS-HD trial and DADSPORT meta-analysis, both presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress in Paris last week.

Around 7,000 people with localised prostate cancer each year have surgery to remove their prostate. Some of these people then have radiotherapy as well. But it was unclear if they should also receive hormone therapy (which is used to treat more advanced disease).

To answer this question, the RADICALS-HD trial randomised people to receive no immediate hormone therapy, six months of hormone therapy, or two years of hormone therapy. People taking part in the trial have been followed-up for around 9 years, on average. The DADSPORT meta-analysis then analysed the data from RADICALS-HD and three other trials that have looked at this question.

The RADICALS trial randomised 2,839 people to different durations of hormone therapy. The DADSPORT meta-analysis analysed data from 4 trials, including RADICALS, with a total of 5,484 participants.

Both studies found that having hormone therapy did delay the cancer spreading. These results provide the most reliable evidence to date regarding the benefits of hormone therapy with post-operative radiotherapy.

The two studies found that overall survival was good in all the groups studied, with no evidence of differences between those who had hormone therapy and those who did not.

Although hormone therapy delays the spread of the cancer, it does have side-effects, including hot flushes, tiredness, and erectile dysfunction. The results of these two studies will help doctors and patients make informed decisions about whether to have hormone therapy, based on evidence around the potential benefits and risks, as well as patients’ priorities and preferences.

The RADICALS-RT trial was funded by the MRC and Cancer Research UK and took place in hospitals throughout the UK, as well as Canada, Denmark and Ireland. The DADSPORT meta-analysis was funded by the UK Medical Research Council.

Further information: