The Particulars: The use of robotic surgery and proton beam therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer has grown rapidly in recent years, but evidence about the benefits of these options is lacking. It has yet to be determined if urologists and radiation oncologists favor these new technologies and how they view their role in clinical practice in the context of existing treatment options.
Data Breakdown: In a national survey, researchers assessed the perceptions of prostate cancer specialists on robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) and proton radiation therapy (PRT) versus open radical prostatectomy (ORP) and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). More than one-quarter of radiation oncologists (28.5%) and 15.5% of urologists perceived PRT as a procedure that minimized therapy-related side effects. However, only 2.5% of radiation oncologists and 1.7% of urologists perceived PRT as superior to IMRT. Approximately one-third or respondents felt RARP was superior to ORP for urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction, but only 1.9% of radiation oncologists and 7.0% of urologists felt RARP was superior to ORP for cancer control. Providers with access to newer treatments were more likely to perceive them as being superior to convention treatments.
Take Home Pearls: Physicians with access to RARP and PRT appear to be influenced about their perceived clinical benefits despite limited evidence. However, the majority of prostate cancer specialists do not appear to view PRT or RARP as providing better cancer control than conventional treatments, regardless of their access to new technology.