Toxicity and early biochemical outcomes from 125iodine prostate brachytherapy in the UK. A prospective study

Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2004 Apr;16(2):95-104. doi: 10.1016/j.clon.2003.11.006.


Aims: Transperineal interstitial prostate brachytherapy is increasingly available to patients with early prostate cancer in the U.K., but limited data are available about the toxicity and early results in the U.K. prostate cancer population. We describe our experience and results from prostate brachytherapy to date.

Materials and methods: Two hundred and fifty-five patients were treated at St Luke's Cancer Centre, Guildford, U.K., between March 1999 and November 2002. Of these, over 3 months of follow-up data were available for 216 patients. Patients were assessed at 6 weeks and then at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after implant, and at 6 monthly intervals thereafter. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA), International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) and toxicity, including catheter use, was recorded prospectively.

Results: Median PSA at 1, 2 and 3 years was 0.5, 0.4 and 0.1 ng/ml, respectively. Ninety-five per cent of patients experienced temporary deterioration in their urinary symptoms, which persisted at clinically significant levels (IPSS increase >3 points) for 9 months after implant. The severity of urinary symptoms (IPSS) after implant was most closely related to IPSS at presentation (P<0.001). Acute urinary retention (AUR) occurred in 20 (9.3%) patients, with a further 26 (12.1%) patients using clean intermittent self-catheterisation (CISC) to reduce voiding frequency associated with chronic retention. Median duration of catheter use was 4 weeks. Multivariate analysis revealed that urodynamic status, prostate volume and IPSS score were independently significant (P<0.05) predictors of post-implant catheter use. Twelve patients (5.6%) reported either rectal urgency or mild, self-limiting rectal bleeding.

Conclusion: Brachytherapy was tolerated well, with self-limiting urinary, bowel and sexual toxicity in most patients. Postoperative catheter use in our population is closely linked to pre-implant IPSS score, baseline prostate volume and urodynamic obstruction status. This work confirms the prognostic value of urodynamic assessment, which adds useful prognostic information to assessment of known risk factors such as prostate volume and IPSS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brachytherapy / adverse effects
  • Brachytherapy / methods*
  • Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / analysis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urinary Catheterization
  • Urination Disorders / etiology


  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen