Australia and New Zealand's largest cancer trial has reached a significant milestone, meeting its recruitment target 16 months earlier than expected.
More than 1,000 Australian and New Zealand men with prostate cancer have been recruited into the Randomised Androgen Deprivation And Radiotherapy (RADAR) trial coordinated by Professor Jim Denham, a researcher at the University of Newcastle and Calvary Mater Newcastle.
The RADAR trial is aimed at localised, but inoperable, prostate cancer. It will determine the cancer-beating potential of a combination of hormone therapy both before and after radiotherapy, and builds on earlier successes by the same team in 2005 using six months of hormone therapy in advance of radiotherapy.
The RADAR trial is also investigating whether a new drug that strengthens bones can help reduce any bone-weakening effects of hormone therapy, and the chances of cancer returning to bones.
Professor Denham said 4,000 men were diagnosed each year with locally advanced prostate cancer, many of whom were beyond surgery.
"The success of recruitment into the RADAR trial proves there is strong support in the medical community to improve the treatment results for these men. The RADAR trial is contributing to an international effort which is shaping the management of prostate cancer for the next 20 years.
Meeting our recruitment quota so quickly means we will have results sooner and can incorporate information from the RADAR trial into clinical practice earlier than expected."
Professor Denham said the RADAR trial, which has received over $4 million from the National Health and Medical Research Council, is an example of partnership between the public and private research sectors. "The New Zealand Health Research Council, New Zealand Cancer Society, and pharmaceutical companies - Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Abbott Australasia - have also provided very significant support."
The RADAR trial is based at Calvary Mater Newcastle, with 22 other hospitals throughout Australia and New Zealand participating.
Professor Denham is head of the Trans-Tasman Radiation Oncology Group's (TROG) prostate cancer trials, in collaboration with the Hunter Medical Research Institute's Cancer Research Program. The RADAR trial was kickstarted and has been continually supported with generous donations to HMRI and Calvary Mater Newcastle from the Gusse family, owners of Gallerie Fine Jewellery at The Junction, Newcastle.