Long-term outcomes after high-dose postprostatectomy salvage radiation treatment

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Sep 1;84(1):112-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2011.10.077. Epub 2012 Jan 31.


Purpose: To review the impact of high-dose radiotherapy (RT) in the postprostatectomy salvage setting on long-term biochemical control and distant metastases-free survival, and to identify clinical and pathologic predictors of outcomes.

Methods and materials: During 1988-2007, 285 consecutive patients were treated with salvage RT (SRT) after radical prostatectomy. All patients were treated with either three-dimensional conformal RT or intensity-modulated RT. Two hundred seventy patients (95%) were treated to a dose ≥66 Gy, of whom 205 (72%) received doses ≥70 Gy. Eighty-seven patients (31%) received androgen-deprivation therapy as a component of their salvage treatment. All clinical and pathologic records were reviewed to identify treatment risk factors and response.

Results: The median follow-up time after SRT was 60 months. Seven-year actuarial prostate-specific antigen (PSA) relapse-free survival and distant metastases-free survival were 37% and 77%, respectively. Independent predictors of biochemical recurrence were vascular invasion (p < 0.01), negative surgical margins (p < 0.01), presalvage PSA level >0.4 ng/mL (p < 0.01), androgen-deprivation therapy (p = 0.03), Gleason score ≥7 (p = 0.02), and seminal vesicle involvement (p = 0.05). Salvage RT dose ≥70 Gy was not associated with improvement in biochemical control. A doubling time <3 months was the only independent predictor of metastatic disease (p < 0.01). There was a trend suggesting benefit of SRT dose ≥70 Gy in preventing clinical local failure in patients with radiographically visible local disease at time of SRT (7 years: 90% vs. 79.1%, p = 0.07).

Conclusion: Salvage RT provides effective long-term biochemical control and freedom from metastasis in selected patients presenting with detectable PSA after prostatectomy. Androgen-deprivation therapy was associated with improvement in biochemical progression-free survival. Clinical local failures were rare but occurred most commonly in patients with greater burden of disease at time of SRT as reflected by either radiographic imaging or a greater PSA level. Salvage radiation doses ≥70 Gy may ultimately be most beneficial in these patients, but this needs to be further studied.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal / therapeutic use
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / blood
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / radiotherapy*
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood
  • Prostatectomy
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Salvage Therapy / methods*
  • Salvage Therapy / mortality
  • Tumor Burden


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen