Does prostate brachytherapy treat the seminal vesicles? A dose-volume histogram analysis of seminal vesicles in patients undergoing combined PD-103 prostate implantation and external beam irradiation

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1999 Sep 1;45(2):385-9. doi: 10.1016/s0360-3016(99)00209-6.


Purpose: Combined brachytherapy of the prostate and external beam irradiation (EBRT) of the prostate and seminal vesicles (SV) is becoming a popular treatment for high-risk prostate cancer. Dose-volume histogram (DVH) analysis of the SV in patients undergoing this treatment was performed to determine the dose distribution to the SV and the adequacy of this treatment in patients with potential SV involvement.

Methods and materials: Twenty-five consecutive patients were treated with a Pd-103 implant of the prostate alone and 45 Gy of EBRT to the prostate and SV. Attempts were not made to implant the SV but seeds were routinely placed at the junction of the prostate and SV. All patients underwent CT-based postimplant dosimetric analysis 1 month after implantation. As part of this analysis, DVH were generated for the prostate and total SV volume (SVT). In addition, the SV was divided into 6-mm-thick volumes identified as SV1, SV2, SV3, SV4, and SV5 starting from the junction of the prostate and SV and extending distally. DVH were also generated for these structures. Delivered dose was defined as the D90 (dose delivered to 90% of the organ on DVH).

Results: The median volumes in cc of the prostate, SVT, SV1, SV2, SV3, SV4, and SV5 were 34.33, 9.75, 2.7, 3.48, 2.92, 3.18, and 1.96 respectively. The SVT contained from 0-9 seeds (median 2). There was little dose delivered to the SVT and SV volumes from the implanted prostate. The median D90 values for the prostate, SVT, SV1, SV2, SV3, SV4, and SV5 were 8615 cGy, 675 cGy, 3100 cGy, 1329 cGy, 553 cGy, 246 cGy, and 67 cGy, respectively. The dose delivered to the prostate covered small percentages of SV. The percents of SV volumes covered by the prostate D90 were 11, 35, 3.3, 0, 0, and 0 for SVT, SV1, SV2, SV3, SV4, and SV5, respectively.

Conclusions: DVH analysis of the SV reveals that dose generated from an implanted prostate contributes little to the SV. Those patients at high risk for SV involvement may be undertreated with combined EBRT to prophylactic doses and prostate implantation.

MeSH terms

  • Brachytherapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Palladium / therapeutic use
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radioisotopes / therapeutic use
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Seminal Vesicles / diagnostic imaging
  • Seminal Vesicles / radiation effects*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Radioisotopes
  • Palladium