Late genitourinary and gastrointestinal toxicity after magnetic resonance image-guided prostate brachytherapy with or without neoadjuvant external beam radiation therapy

Cancer. 2003 Sep 1;98(5):949-54. doi: 10.1002/cncr.11595.


Background: This study was designed to estimate the rates of late genitourinary (GU) and rectal toxicity after magnetic resonance image (MRI)-guided prostate brachytherapy exclusively or in conjunction with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT).

Methods: Between November 1997 and April 2002, 201 patients with category T1C prostate carcinoma (according to the 2002 American Joint Committee on Cancer staging criteria), prostate specific antigen levels < 10 ng/mL, and biopsy Gleason score 3 + 4 disease were treated with MRI-guided brachytherapy exclusively or in conjunction with EBRT. The MRI-guided technique was designed to spare the urethra based on delivery of the prescription dose to the peripheral zone exclusively. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate rates of freedom from late GU and rectal toxicity. Comparisons were made using a log-rank test.

Results: At a median follow-up of 2.8 years (range, 0.5-5.0 years), the 4-year estimates of rectal bleeding requiring coagulation for patients who underwent implantation therapy, compared with patients who received combined-modality therapy, were 8% versus 30%, respectively (log-rank P value = 0.0001). Although erectile dysfunction was common (range, 82-93%), with the use of sildenafil citrate (Viagra), it was estimated that at least two-thirds of patients had erectile function comparable to or superior to baseline function, independent of whether they received monotherapy or combined-modality therapy (P = 0.46). The 4-year estimate of freedom from radiation cystitis was 100% versus 95% (P = 0.01) for patients who received monotherapy and patients who received combined-modality therapy, respectively. No urethral strictures were observed, and no patients underwent postimplantation transurethral resection of the prostate.

Conclusions: In the current study, rectal bleeding after MRI-guided prostate brachymonotherapy was infrequent, and urethral and bladder toxicity is reported to be rare and may be attributed to the urethral-sparing technique of the MRI-guided approach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brachytherapy / adverse effects*
  • Brachytherapy / methods
  • Carcinoma / radiotherapy*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiation Injuries*
  • Rectum / pathology*
  • Urethra / pathology*
  • Urinary Bladder / pathology*