Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in UK men. Some men have cancer on one side of the prostate, but are still offered treatment to the whole prostate.New technologies can now treat part of the prostate only, destroying the cancer but preserving urinary and sexual functions. These technologies may have fewer side-effects, but none has been compared with radical treatments to ensure they are as safe and effective.
One such technology is Vascular Targeted Photodynamic Therapy (VTP), which has shown promising results in men with low-risk prostate cancer compared to no treatment. VTP involves giving an injection to make prostate cells sensitive to light. Small fibres are then placed into the prostate under anaesthetic, through the skin between the scrotum and anus (perineum). A laser is then shone down the fibres into the prostate. We have evidence that this destroys cancer cells, and may lead to fewer side-effects than radical treatment. VTP side-effects may include irritation to the urinary system, a small chance of sexual side effects and mild discomfort
We now want to test VTP in men with higher (intermediate) risk prostate cancer who would usually be advised to have radical treatment.
The PART Trial aims to test whether partial treatment of the prostate using VTP is as effective in curing prostate cancer (and has fewer side effects) as radical treatments currently available on the NHS, i.e. treatment of the whole prostate by surgical removal, radiotherapy or lose-dose brachytherapy.