Hypofractionation and Hydrogel Spacer – Two New Important Changes in the Delivery of Primary Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer 

How radiation is delivered as a primary treatment for prostate cancer therapy has been changing, mostly since 2017.  The change involves two different items, one the method of delivery of the radiation and the increasing use of a newly developed “safety” product that lowers the adverse side effects of the radiation treatment.

Delivery of radiation therapy has been changing as radiologists become more comfortable with a new process called hypofractionation (higher doses with fewer sessions).  Hypofractionation is becoming increasingly more popular since the release of data from trials such as CHHiP, PROFIT, and RTOG 0415.   Additionally, Cancer ABCs believes that new guidelines from ASCO, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), and the American Urological Association (AUA) will soon support the use of hypofractionation in men with prostate cancer.

The technique of hypofractionation has proven to deliver quicker and yet efficacious administration of radiation therapy than other standard delivery modalities to men with prostate cancer.

Besides using hypofractionation, radiologists are increasing using a newly developed product, hydrogel spacer (SpaceOAR Hydrogel®).

Hydrogel physically separates the prostate gland from the colon and bladder without itself adding any additional harmful side effects.  The use of the hydrogel spacer has provided men being treated with primary radiation therapy for prostate cancer with an improved quality of life (QOL).  The QOL improvements have extended to lowering bowel, urinary, and sexuality toxicities. 

In Cancer ABCs opinion, the use of the Hydrogel Spacer should now be considered the standard of care.

These two developments, hypofractionation and hydrogel Spacer have improved the delivery of primary radiation therapy. 

Joel T. Nowak, MA, MSW wrote this Post.  Joel is the CEO/Executive Director of Cancer ABCs.  He is a Cancer Thriver diagnosed with five primary cancers - Thyroid, Metastatic Prostate, Renal, Melanoma, and the rare cancer Appendiceal cancer.