Clinical Research Genitourinary Cancers

Strategic Direction and Overarching Themes for the Service

Clinical and translational research in the genitourinary service in the department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania focuses on:

  • The use of proton therapy in a number of disease sites, including prostate cancer, seminoma, and bladder cancer, assessing feasibility and treatment outcomes
  • Exploring the use of a circulating tumor cell assay in bladder cancer.
  • The impact of yoga on quality of life in prostate cancer patients receiving high-dose radiotherapy.

Description of Programs and Protocols within the Service

Principal Investigator: Justin Bekelman, M.D.
UPCC#: 13812

This is a phase III multi-center randomized study that seeks to compare 2 types of standard of care therapies (IMRT and Proton) used for the treatment of men diagnosed with low or intermediate risk prostate cancer. This study is investigating whether men being treated for prostate cancer have the same amount of side effects, good and/or bad from either IMRT or proton therapy. Patients on study will be randomized to either IMRT or Proton therapy. To be eligible for the study, there are a number of eligibility requirements that the patient’s physician will review to see if a patient is eligible to enroll. The most noted eligibility requirements are a diagnosis of prostate cancer that is either low or intermediate risk, and the patient must be at least 18 years of age.

Principal Investigator: Neha Vapiwala, M.D.
UPCC#: 03819

This study is a large, prospective, pragmatic, controlled comparison of patient-centric outcomes [quality of life (QOL), toxicity, and disease control] between parallel cohorts of men with prostate cancer treated simultaneously at proton therapy facilities and at geographically similar conventional (photon-based) radiation facilities using intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) techniques. This study includes a pre-specified randomized comparison of standard fractionation and moderate hypofractionation dose schemes within the proton therapy cohort. In addition, subgroup analyses will include a comparison of outcomes by race (Black vs. White), comorbidity score (0 vs. 1+), age (<65 vs. ≥65), and prostate cancer aggressiveness (very low and low, intermediate, and high risk) for all objectives.

Principal Investigator: John Christodouleas, M.D., MPH 
UPCC#: 23819

To test the hypothesis that reduction of dose to or ‘sparing’ of neurovascular structures during SAbR for localized prostate cancer will improve retention of sexual potency, while retaining excellent oncologic control and other secondary HRQOL endpoints.