Vol 25, No 2 (2020)
Original research articles
Published online: 2020-03-01

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Choosing between conventional and hypofractionated prostate cancer radiation therapy: Results from a study of shared decision-making

Thomas P. Shakespeare1, Justin Westhuyzen1, Tracy Lim Yew Fai2, Noel J. Aherne13
DOI: 10.1016/j.rpor.2019.12.028
Rep Pract Oncol Radiother 2020;25(2):193-199.



To evaluate patient choice of prostate cancer radiotherapy fractionation, using a decision aid.


Recent ASTRO guidelines recommend patients with localised prostate cancer be offered moderately hypofractionated radiation therapy after discussing increased acute toxicity and uncertainty of long-term results compared to conventional fractionation.

Materials and methods

A decision aid was designed to outline the benefits and potential downsides of conventionally and moderately hypofractionated radiation therapy. The aid incorporated the ASTRO guideline to outline risks and benefits.


In all, 124 patients with localised prostate cancer were seen from June-December 2018. Median age was 72 (range 50–90), 49.6 % were intermediate risk (50.4 % high risk). All except three patients made a choice using the aid; the three undecided patients were hypofractionated. In all, 33.9 % of patients chose hypofractionation: falling to 25.3 % for patients under 75 years, 24.3 % for patients living within 30 miles of the cancer centre, and 14.3 % for patients with baseline gastrointestinal symptoms. On multivariate analysis, younger age, proximity to the centre, and having baseline gastrointestinal symptoms significantly predicted for choosing conventional fractionation. Insurance status, attending clinician, baseline genitourinary symptoms, work/carer status, ECOG, cancer risk group and driving status did not impact choice. Reasons for choosing conventional fractionation were certainty of long-term results (84 %) and lower acute bowel toxicity (51 %).


Most patients declined the convenience of moderate hypofractionation due to potentially increased acute toxicity, and the uncertainty of long-term outcomes. We advocate that no patient should be offered hypofractionation without a thorough discussion of uncertainty and acute toxicity.

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