Quality of life in patients with locally advanced prostate cancer given endocrine treatment with or without radiotherapy: 4-year follow-up of SPCG-7/SFUO-3, an open-label, randomised, phase III trial

Fransson P, Lund JA, Damber JE, Klepp O, Wiklund F, FossÄ S, Widmark A

Lancet Oncol. 2009



Androgen treatment for prostate cancer can adversely affect functional domains of quality of life. We aimed to assess quality of life in men with locally advanced prostate cancer in an open-label phase III randomised comparison between lifelong endocrine treatment with and without radiotherapy.


We obtained quality-of-life information from 872 (99%) of 875 eligible men with locally advanced prostate cancer (T3; 78%) who were randomly assigned, between 1996 and 2002, to 3 months of total androgen blockade followed by continuous endocrine treatment (439 patients) or the same hormonal treatment with radiotherapy 3 months after randomisation (436 patients). Prospective outcomes included patient-reported symptoms and quality of life assessed with questionnaires from baseline to 4 years after randomisation. Analysis was by intention to treat. This study is registered as an international standard randomised controlled trial, number ISRCTN01534787.


438 of 439 men assigned endocrine treatment and 434 of 436 assigned endocrine plus radiotherapy completed at least one questionnaire. Missing data at baseline and during follow-up was equally distributed between groups. At 4 years, 64 (18%) of 353 patients on combined therapy and 39 (12%) of 337 on endocrine-alone therapy had moderate to severe urinary bother (p=0.005), and 16 (4%) of 355 on combined therapy and five (2%) of 338 on endocrine treatment alone had pain while urinating (p=0.024). 37 (11%) of 350 in the combined group and 23 (7%) of 35 in the endocrine-only group had overall bother from all bowel symptoms (p=0.022). 281 (85%) of 332 in the combined-treatment group and 227 (72%) of 313 in the endocrine-only group had erectile dysfunction (p=0.0002). Quality of life at 4 years was similar, with the exception of decreased social function in patients receiving endocrine treatment plus radiotherapy.


Although addition of radiotherapy to endocrine treatment significantly increased some treatment-related symptoms, none were serious. Given the substantial survival benefit of combined treatment, the increase of symptoms seems acceptable and has little extra effect on quality of life after 4 years compared with endocrine treatment alone.