Purpose: Although permanent seed prostate brachytherapy is associated with a low risk of serious morbidity, proctitis and prolonged irritative and obstructive urinary symptoms may occur. Data are accumulating to help establish thresholds or guidelines for minimizing toxicity, however, no uniform method of defining and calculating the dose to critical organs currently exists. We set out to examine the existing data and propose a uniform method of reporting such that results from different centers can more easily be compared.
Methods and materials: In preparation for a panel discussion at the American Brachytherapy Society 2004 Annual Meeting, four members with expertise in prostate dosimetry and critical organ assessment performed a literature search and, supplemented with their clinical experience, formulated a proposal for defining and reporting dose in a standardized fashion to the critical organs for permanent seed prostate brachytherapy.
Results: As previously recommended by the American Brachytherapy Society, postimplant dosimetry should be performed on all patients undergoing permanent prostate brachytherapy. The standard imaging for postplan assessment is the CT scan. The interval between seed implantation and postplan assessment should be reported. For rectal and urinary morbidities, the critical organs are considered to be the anterior rectum and the prostatic urethra, respectively. For erectile dysfunction, both the neurovascular bundle and penile bulb have been implicated. The rectum should be contoured on all CT scan slices where radioactive seeds are visible. Both the inner and outer walls should be contoured. The dose should be reported as RV100 and RV150, the volumes in cubic centimeters of the rectal wall receiving 100% and 150% of the prescribed dose, respectively. The urethra should be contoured as a structure on each slice where seeds can be seen. The urethra should be identified by either catheterization or fusion with transrectal ultrasound. The dose should be reported as UrD5 and UrD30, which are, respectively, the dose to 5% and 30% of the urethra in Gray. As well, a UrV150 should be reported, which is the volume in cubic centimeters of the urethra receiving 150% of the prescribed dose. No recommendations can be made at this time for reporting neurovascular bundle or penile bulb doses.
Conclusions: It is essential that toxicity data be collected and reported in a uniform fashion. Thus, the critical organs for toxicity must be defined and the corresponding dosimetry reported in a standard fashion such that guidelines can be established in the future based on data from a cross-section of centers.