Ultra-hypofractionated versus conventionally fractionated radiotherapy for prostate cancer (HYPO-RT-PC): patient-reported quality-of-life outcomes of a randomised, controlled, non-inferiority, phase 3 trial

Per Fransson, Per Nilsson, Adalsteinn Gunnlaugsson, Lars Beckman, Björn Tavelin, David Norman, Camilla Thellenberg-Karlsson, Morten Hoyer, Magnus Lagerlund, Jon Kindblom, Claes Ginman, Bengt Johansson, Kirsten Björnlinger, Mihajl Seke, Måns Agrup, Björn Zackrisson, Elisabeth Kjellén, Lars Franzén, Anders Widmark

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Background: The HYPO-RT-PC trial compared conventionally fractionated radiotherapy with ultra-hypofractionated radiotherapy in patients with localised prostate cancer. Ultra-hypofractionation was non-inferior to conventional fractionation regarding 5-year failure-free survival and toxicity. We aimed to assess whether patient-reported quality of life (QOL) differs between conventional fractionation and ultra-hypofractionation up to 6 years after treatment in the HYPO-RT-PC trial. Methods: HYPO-RT-PC is a multicentre, open-label, randomised, controlled, non-inferiority, phase 3 trial done in 12 centres (seven university hospitals and five county hospitals) in Sweden and Denmark. Inclusion criteria were histologically verified intermediate-to-high-risk prostate cancer (defined as T1c–T3a with one or two of the following risk factors: stage T3a; Gleason score ≥7; and prostate-specific antigen 10–20 ng/mL with no evidence of lymph node involvement or distant metastases), age up to 75 years, and WHO performance status 0–2. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to conventional fractionation (78·0 Gy in 39 fractions, 5 days per week for 8 weeks) or ultra-hypofractionation (42·7 Gy in seven fractions, 3 days per week for 2·5 weeks) via a minimisation algorithm with stratification by trial centre, T-stage, Gleason score, and prostate-specific antigen. QOL was measured using the validated Prostate Cancer Symptom Scale (PCSS) and European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality-of-Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) at baseline, the end of radiotherapy, months 3, 6, 12, and 24 after radiotherapy, every other year thereafter up to 10 years, and at 15 years. The primary endpoint (failure-free survival) has been reported elsewhere. Here we report QOL, a secondary endpoint analysed in the per-protocol population, up to 6 years after radiotherapy. The HYPO-RT-PC trial is registered with the ISRCTN registry, ISRCTN45905321. Findings: Between July 1, 2005, and Nov 4, 2015, 1200 patients were enrolled and 1180 were randomly assigned (conventional fractionation n=591, ultra-hypofractionation n=589); 1165 patients (conventional fractionation n=582, ultra-hypofractionation n=583) were included in this QOL analysis. 158 (71%) of 223 patients in the conventional fractionation group and 146 (66%) of 220 in the ultra-hypofractionation group completed questionnaires at 6 years. The median follow-up was 48 months (IQR 25–72). In seven of ten bowel symptoms or problems the proportion of patients with clinically relevant deteriorations at the end of radiotherapy was significantly higher in the ultra-hypofractionation group than in the conventional fractionation group (stool frequency [p<0·0001], rush to toilet [p=0·0013], flatulence [p=0·0013], bowel cramp [p<0·0001], mucus [p=0·0014], blood in stool [p<0·0001], and limitation in daily activity [p=0·0014]). There were no statistically significant differences in the proportions of patients with clinically relevant acute urinary symptoms or problems (total 14 items) and sexual functioning between the two treatment groups at end of radiotherapy. Thereafter, there were no clinically relevant differences in urinary, bowel, or sexual functioning between the groups. At the 6-year follow-up there was no difference in the incidence of clinically relevant deterioration between the groups for overall urinary bother (43 [33%] of 132 for conventional fractionation vs 33 [28%] of 120 for ultra-hypofractionation; mean difference 5·1% [95% CI –4·4 to 14·6]; p=0·38), overall bowel bother (43 [33%] of 129 vs 34 [28%] of 123; 5·7% [–3·8 to 15·2]; p=0·33), overall sexual bother (75 [60%] of 126 vs 59 [50%] of 117; 9·1% [–1·4 to 19·6]; p=0·15), or global health/QOL (56 [42%] of 134 vs 46 [37%] of 125; 5·0% [–5·0 to 15·0]; p=0·41). Interpretation: Although acute toxicity was higher for ultra-hypofractionation than conventional fractionation, this long-term patient-reported QOL analysis shows that ultra-hypofractionation was as well tolerated as conventional fractionation up to 6 years after completion of treatment. These findings support the use of ultra-hypofractionation radiotherapy for intermediate-to-high-risk prostate cancer. Funding: The Nordic Cancer Union, the Swedish Cancer Society, and the Swedish Research Council.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-245
Number of pages11
JournalThe Lancet Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cancer and Oncology
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


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