From 1976 to 1983, 1091 patients were entered into RTOG protocols 75-06 and 77-06. Of these, 780 patients complied with protocol requirements, received a minimum tumor dose of greater than or equal to 6500 cGy, and received no endocrine therapy. There were 78, 342, and 360 patients with localized prostate carcinoma, Stages T1b(A2), T2(B), and T3,4(C), respectively. The potential follow-up period ranges from 6 years 5 months to 13 years 3 months, with a median follow-up of 9 years. This study examines the influence of overall treatment time on the outcome of definitive radiotherapy for localized prostate carcinoma in this patient population. Within each stage, patients were divided into three groups according to the total number of elapsed days while on treatment: within 49 days (less than or equal to 7 weeks); 50 to 63 days (8 to 9 weeks); and greater than or equal to 64 days (greater than 9 weeks). Based on actuarial analysis, within each stage, the overall treatment time did not have any impact on the following: overall survival, NED survival, or local/regional control. When grouped under different histologic grades, that is, Gleason scores 2-5, 6-7, and 8-10, the actuarial local/regional control showed no statistical difference among the three groups. The actual local/regional failures were analyzed and stratified by stage and Gleason scores, and no statistical difference was noted among the three groups for each stratification. The range of local/regional failure rates among the three groups for T1b(A2), T2(B), and T3,4(C) disease were 0%-8%, 16%-23%, and 24%-27%, respectively. The corresponding range of local/regional failure rates for patients with Gleason scores of 2-5, 6-7, and 8-10 were 13%-14%, 18%-22%, and 22%-33%, respectively. The incidence of late complications was not related to the number of elapsed treatment days. Therefore, the overall treatment time does not have an impact on the outcome of definitive radiotherapy for localized prostate carcinoma. It is hypothesized that prostate carcinoma behaves as late-reacting tissue in which there is little, if any, accelerated repopulation of clonogenic tumor cells during the later half of a protracted course of radiotherapy. This observation is in direct contrast to that suggested for head and neck carcinoma and bears important implications in daily radiotherapeutic management of patients with prostate carcinoma.