Radical prostatectomy after definitive radiation therapy for prostate cancer

Urology. 1991 Mar;37(3):189-92. doi: 10.1016/0090-4295(91)80282-c.


Radical prostatectomy was performed in 14 patients following local failure of radiation therapy for adenocarcinoma of the prostate. Ten patients were treated with external beam and 4 with interstitial radiation. The interval from beginning radiation therapy to biopsy-proved residual or recurrent disease was twenty-four to one hundred fourteen months (mean 61 months). Ten patients had significant anterior and lateral fibrosis. Five patients had loss of tissue planes between the prostate and rectum, however, no rectal injuries occurred. Estimated blood loss was 300-8,000 cc (median 1,000 cc). Operative time was one hundred ten to three hundred seventy-five minutes (median 185 minutes). Significant late complications are impotence (100%) and incontinence (55%). Tumor volume was 1.1-27.2 cc (mean 11.1 cc). Seven patients had seminal vesicle involvement, 9 had level III capsule penetration, and 6 had positive surgical margins. Follow-up ranges from one to fifty-two months (median 18 months). Currently, 6 patients are clinically without disease and have serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) of 0.0 ng/mL. Four patients have no clinical evidence of disease but do have detectable serum PSA, and 4 patients have evidence of metastatic bone disease on bone scan with elevated serum PSA levels. Radical prostatectomy following radiation therapy has no greater immediate morbidity or mortality compared with radical prostatectomy without prior irradiation and takes only slightly longer to perform. However, there is a marked increased risk of impotence and incontinence. More patients followed for a longer time are needed to assess the benefit of radical prostatectomy on survival of patients who fail radiation therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Prostatectomy / methods*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery*