Rates of rectal toxicity in patients treated with high dose rate brachytherapy as monotherapy compared to dose-escalated external beam radiation therapy for localized prostate cancer.

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Radiotherapy and Oncology : journal of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology


BACKGROUND: Using a prospectively collected institutional database, we compared rectal toxicity following high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy as monotherapy relative to dose-escalated external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) for patients with localized prostate cancer.

METHODS: 2683 patients treated with HDR or EBRT between 1994 and 2017 were included. HDR fractionation was 38 Gy/4 fractions (n = 321), 24 Gy/2 (n = 96), or 27 Gy/2 (n = 128). EBRT patients received a median dose of 75.6 Gy in 1.8 Gy fractions [range 70.2-82.8 Gy], using either 3D conformal or intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). EBRT patients underwent 3D image guidance via an off-line adaptive process.

RESULTS: Median follow-up was 7.5 years (7.4 years for EBRT and 7.9 years for HDR). 545 patients (20.3%) received HDR brachytherapy and 2138 (79.7%) EBRT. 69.1% of EBRT patients received IMRT. Compared to EBRT, HDR was associated with decreased rates of acute grade ≥2 diarrhea (0.7% vs. 4.5%, p < 0.001), rectal pain/tenesmus (0.6% vs. 7.9%, p < 0.001), and rectal bleeding (0% vs. 1.6%, p = 0.001). Rates of chronic grade ≥2 rectal bleeding (1.3% vs. 8.7%, p < 0.001) and radiation proctitis (0.9% vs. 3.3%, p = 0.001) favored HDR over EBRT. Rates of any chronic rectal toxicity grade ≥2 were 2.4% vs. 10.5% (p < 0.001) for HDR versus EBRT, respectively. In those treated with IMRT, acute and chronic rates of any grade ≥2 GI toxicity were significantly reduced but remained significantly greater than those treated with HDR.

CONCLUSIONS: In appropriately selected patients with localized prostate cancer undergoing radiation therapy, HDR brachytherapy as monotherapy is an effective strategy for reducing rectal toxicity.



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