Adjuvant or early salvage radiotherapy for the treatment of localised and locally advanced prostate cancer: a prospectively planned systematic review and meta-analysis of aggregate data

“It is unclear whether adjuvant or early salvage radiotherapy following radical prostatectomy is more appropriate for men who present with localised or locally advanced prostate cancer. We aimed to prospectively plan a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing these radiotherapy approaches.

[..] We identified three eligible trials and were able to obtain updated results for event-free survival for 2153 patients recruited between November, 2007, and December, 2016. Median follow-up ranged from 60 months to 78 months, with a maximum follow-up of 132 months. 1075 patients were randomly assigned to receive adjuvant radiotherapy and 1078 to a policy of early salvage radiotherapy, of whom 421 (39·1%) had commenced treatment at the time of analysis. Patient characteristics were balanced within trials and overall. Median age was similar between trials at 64 or 65 years (with IQRs ranging from 59 to 68 years) across the three trials and most patients (1671 [77·6%]) had a Gleason score of 7. [..] Based on 270 events, the meta-analysis showed no evidence that event-free survival was improved with adjuvant radiotherapy compared with early salvage radiotherapy (HR 0·95, 95% CI 0·75–1·21), with only a 1 percentage point (95% CI −2 to 3) change in 5-year event-free survival (89% vs 88%). Results were consistent across trials (heterogeneity p=0·18; I 2=42%).

[..] Until data on long-term outcomes are available, early salvage treatment would seem the preferable treatment policy as it offers the opportunity to spare many men radiotherapy and its associated side-effects.”

Full article, Vale CL, Fisher D, Kneebone A et al. Lancet 2020.9.28