Open Access Open Badges Research article

Early results of prostate cancer radiation therapy: an analysis with emphasis on research strategies to improve treatment delivery and outcomes

Kosj Yamoah14*, Kwamena Beecham2, Sarah E Hegarty3, Terry Hyslop3, Timothy Showalter1 and Joel Yarney2

Author affiliations

1 Department of Radiation Oncology, Kimmel Cancer Center & Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, USA

2 National Center for Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, and College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana

3 Division of Biostatistics, Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, USA

4 Department of Radiation Oncology, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Cancer 2013, 13:23  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-23

Published: 16 January 2013



There is scant data regarding disease presentation and treatment response among black men living in Africa. In this study we evaluate disease presentation and early clinical outcomes among Ghanaian men with prostate cancer treated with external beam radiotherapy (EBRT).


A total of 379 men with prostate cancer were referred to the National Center for Radiotherapy, Ghana from 2003 to 2009. Data were collected regarding patient-and tumor-related factors such as age, prostate specific antigen (PSA), Gleason score (GS), clinical stage (T), and use of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). For patients who received EBRT, freedom from biochemical failure (FFbF) was evaluated using the Kaplan-Meier method.


Of 379 patients referred for treatment 69.6% had initial PSA (iPSA) > 20 ng/ml, and median iPSA was 39.0 ng/ml. A total of 128 men, representing 33.8% of the overall cohort, were diagnosed with metastatic disease at time of referral. Among patients with at least 2 years of follow-up after EBRT treatment (n=52; median follow-up time: 38.9 months), 3- and 5-year actuarial FFbF was 73.8% and 65.1% respectively. There was significant association between higher iPSA and GS (8–10 vs. ≤7, p < 0.001), and T stage (T3/4 vs. T1/2, p < 0.001).


This is the largest series reporting on outcomes after prostate cancer treatment in West Africa. That one-third of patients presented with metastatic disease suggests potential need for earlier detection to permit curative-intent therapy. Data from this study will aid in the strategic development of prostate cancer research roadmap in Ghana.

African men; Prostate cancer; External beam RT; Biochemical failure