Spacer Stability and Prostate Position Variability During Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer Applying a Hydrogel to Protect the Rectal Wall

Radiother Oncol. 2013 Feb;106(2):220-4. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2012.11.010. Epub 2013 Jan 16.


Background and purpose: The aim was to evaluate the spacer dimensions and prostate position variability during the course of radiotherapy for prostate cancer.

Materials and methods: CT scans were performed in a group of 15 patients (G1) after the 10 ml injection of a hydrogel spacer (SpaceOAR™) and 30 patients without a spacer (G2) before the beginning of treatment (CT1) and in the last treatment week, 10-12 weeks following spacer implantation (CT2). Spacer dimensions and displacements were determined and prostate displacements compared.

Results: Mean volume of the hydrogel increased slightly (17%; p<0.01), in 4 of 15 patients >2 cm(3). The average displacement of the hydrogel center of mass was 0.6mm (87%≤ 2.2mm), -0.6mm (100% ≤ 2.2mm) and 1.4mm (87% ≤ 4.3mm) in the x-, y- and z-axes (not significant). The average distance between prostate and anterior rectal wall before/at the end of radiotherapy was 1.6 cm/1.5 cm, 1.2 cm/1.3 cm and 1.0 cm/1.1cm at the level of the base, middle and apex (G1). Prostate position variations were similar comparing G1 and G2, but significant systematic posterior displacements were only found in G2.

Conclusions: A stable distance between the prostate and anterior rectal wall results during the radiotherapy course after injection of the spacer before treatment planning. Larger posterior prostate displacements could be reduced.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Organs at Risk / radiation effects*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / methods*
  • Rectum / radiation effects*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate