AI could soon decide on the best treatment after prostate cancer surgery, allowing patients to escape months of uncomfortable hormone therapy
Prostate cancer sufferers may someday be spared months of unpleasant hormone therapy treatments because to artificial intelligence.
Currently, testosterone-suppressing medications are given to cancer patients receiving radiotherapy because testosterone, when present in normal amounts, can feed the disease and make it worse. However, there are a number of negative side effects of hormone therapy, such as exhaustion, hot flashes, and sexual issues.
Depending on how severe the cancer is, patients will take the medications, which are administered as daily tablets, for four months to three years.
Experts say the technique is effective for patients whose cancers are very low or very high risk, but often results in patients less likely to relapse receiving the wrong treatment.
Now research has found that an artificial intelligence program can accurately predict which patients will need short courses of hormone therapy and those who will need longer treatment.
Artificial intelligence will soon allow prostate cancer patients to escape months of uncomfortable hormone therapy treatment (stock photo)
Research shows that an artificial intelligence program can accurately predict which patients need short courses of hormone therapy and which patients need longer treatment
The findings, presented earlier this month at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, showed that the program identified 34 percent of men, from a 1,000-person trial, who were able to take just four months of hormone therapy without the cancer returning.
It also concluded that 40 percent of men believed to have only a moderate risk of their cancer returning would in fact need to take the drug longer because they were more likely to relapse than doctors expected.
The program, developed at the Duke Cancer Institute in the US, analyzes scans of tumors to look for telltale ‘bumps’ that mean a higher risk.
UK clinicians revealed the tool will be rolled out on the NHS as part of a clinical trial. “We are setting up a study using this software in Manchester,” said Joe O’Sullivan, a professor of radiation oncology at Queen’s University Belfast.
“Fascinating technology like this has the potential to completely change the way we treat prostate cancer in this country.”