HealthDay News — Higher doses of radiation may improve survival in men with intermediate- and high-risk prostate cancers, but it does not do the same for those with low-risk disease, according to a study published online July 16 in JAMA Oncology.

Anusha Kalbasi, MD, a radiation oncology resident at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined data from 42,481 prostate cancer patients. Some of the men had received the standard dose of radiation, while others received higher-dose radiation.

The researchers found that every incremental increase in radiation dose was associated with a 7.8% decline (for those with intermediate-risk cancer) and 6.3% decline (for high-risk cancer) in all-cause mortality. However, the equation changed when it came to men with low-risk prostate tumors. In those cases, using a higher dose of radiation made no difference in survival rates.

The study “raises the provocative question of whether radiation dose reduction for patients with low-risk prostate cancer could achieve similar cure rates while avoiding the increased risk of side effects associated with higher radiation doses,” Kalbasi said in a university news release.


  1. Kalbasi A et al. JAMA Oncol. 2015; doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.2316.
  2. Gray PJ Zietman AL. JAMA Oncol. 2015; doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2015.2419.