Hyaluronic Acid Spacer for Hypofractionated Prostate Radiation Therapy: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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JAMA Oncology


IMPORTANCE: Hypofractionated radiation therapy (RT) for prostate cancer has been associated with greater acute grade 2 gastrointestinal (GI) toxic effects compared with conventionally fractionated RT.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether a hyaluronic acid rectal spacer could (1) improve rectal dosimetry and (2) affect acute grade 2 or higher GI toxic effects for hypofractionated RT.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This randomized clinical trial was conducted from March 2020 to June 2021 among 12 centers within the US, Australia, and Spain, with a 6-month follow-up. Adult patients with biopsy-proven, T1 to T2 prostate cancer with a Gleason score 7 or less and prostate-specific antigen level of 20 ng/mL or less (to convert to μg/L, multiply by 1) were blinded to the treatment arms. Of the 260 consented patients, 201 patients (77.3%) were randomized (2:1) to the presence or absence of the spacer. Patients were stratified by intended 4-month androgen deprivation therapy use and erectile quality.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: For the primary outcome, we hypothesized that more than 70% of patients in the spacer group would achieve a 25% or greater reduction in the rectal volume receiving 54 Gy (V54). For the secondary outcome, we hypothesized that the spacer group would have noninferior acute (within 3 months) grade 2 or higher GI toxic effects compared with the control group, with a margin of 10%.

RESULTS: Of the 201 randomized patients, 8 (4.0%) were Asian, 26 (12.9%) Black, 42 (20.9%) Hispanic or Latino, and 153 (76.1%) White; the mean (SD) age for the spacer group was 68.6 (7.2) years and 68.4 (7.3) years for the control group. For the primary outcome, 131 of 133 (98.5%; 95% CI, 94.7%-99.8%) patients in the spacer group experienced a 25% or greater reduction in rectum V54, which was greater than the minimally acceptable 70% (P < .001). The mean (SD) reduction was 85.0% (20.9%). For the secondary outcome, 4 of 136 patients (2.9%) in the spacer group and 9 of 65 patients (13.8%) in the control group experienced acute grade 2 or higher GI toxic effects (difference, -10.9%; 95% 1-sided upper confidence limit, -3.5; P = .01).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The trial results suggest that rectal spacing with hyaluronic acid improved rectal dosimetry and reduced acute grade 2 or higher GI toxic effects. Rectal spacing should potentially be considered for minimizing the risk of acute grade 2 or higher toxic effects for hypofractionated RT.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04189913.





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