Who Benefits From a Prostate Rectal Spacer? Secondary Analysis of a Phase III Trial.

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Practical Radiation Oncology


PURPOSE: Previously a phase III trial of a hydrogel rectal spacer during prostate radiation therapy found decreased toxicity and a clinically significant improvement in bowel quality of life (QOL) at 3 years by the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index. We performed a secondary analysis to identify men less likely to benefit.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Clinical and dosimetric data for the 222 patients enrolled on the SpaceOAR phase III trial were analyzed. The volume of rectum treated to 70 Gy (V70) and the quantitative analysis of normal tissue effects in the clinic (QUANTEC) rectal dose goals were used as surrogates for clinical benefit and plan quality. Mean bowel QOL was assessed at 15 and 36 months posttreatment and the likelihood of 1× (5 points) or 2× (10 points) minimally important difference changes were assessed.

RESULTS: Rectal V70 was correlated with physician scored toxicity (P = .033) and was used as a surrogate for plan quality. There was no correlation between prostate volume and rectal V70 (r = 0.077). Rectal V70 pre- and post-hydrogel was 13% and 3% for the smallest prostates (<40 >mL) and 12% and 2% for the largest (>80 mL). The relative reduction in rectal V70 of 78% did not vary by prespacer V70, but the absolute reduction was greater for a higher V70. All spacer plans met the 5 QUANTEC rectal dose constraints, although 92% of control plans met all constraints. At 3 years, those not meeting all QUANTEC goals had a 15.0-point (standard deviation 15.1) decline, control patients meeting QUANTEC goals had a 4.0-point (9.5) decline, and spacer had >0.5 (7.6; P < .01). Previous surgery was not correlated with QOL (P = .8). Across prognostic groups, including age, body mass index, previous surgery, target volume, or quality of radiation plans, there was no statistically significant heterogeneity in the relative benefit of spacer in decreasing the risk of 1× or 2× the minimally important difference declines.

CONCLUSIONS: There was little heterogeneity in the likelihood of spacer reducing the risk of declines in bowel QOL across clinical and dosimetric variables. Even for the >95% of plans meeting QUANTEC rectal criteria, hydrogel spacer provided potentially meaningful benefits.





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