Brachytherapy for prostate carcinoma has developed as either low dose rate permanent implants or high dose rate afterloading. Both approaches offer unsurpassed dose escalation and, particularly with permanent implants, the convenience of a single outpatient treatment. These therapies have now entered the mainstream of treatment options and are in the refinement phase of development. Techniques of implantation, treatment planning approaches, innovative fractionation schemes, and appropriate patient selection are the subject of current investigation. Treatment results are available beyond 10 years and appear equivalent or superior to other modalities. Although short term morbidity can be significant with brachytherapy, most current series report low long-term urinary and rectal complications. Meaningful quality of life studies and randomized cooperative group trials are now underway and should help define the role of brachytherapy in the near future.
Copyright 2002 by W.B. Saunders Company