Background: In radiotherapy (RT) of urinary bladder cancer, the use of intensity-modulated RT (IMRT) opens for sparing of considerable intestinal volumes. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the acute and late toxicities following either conformal RT (CRT) or IMRT for bladder cancer, and to correlate the toxicities to dose-volume parameters.
Material and methods: The study included 116 consecutively treated patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer who received either CRT (n = 66) or IMRT (n = 50) during 2007-2010. Acute side effects were retrospectively collected whereas late effects were assessed by a cross-sectional evaluation by telephone interview of 44 recurrence-free patients. Acute and late toxicities were scored according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Event (CTCAE) version 3.0.
Results: Acute diarrhoea grade ≥ 2 was more frequent in patients treated by CRT (56%) compared to IMRT (30%) (p = 0.008). Logistic regression analysis showed a correlation between acute diarrhoea and bowel cavity dose-volume parameters in the 10-50 Gy range. Severe late toxicity (grade ≥ 3) was recorded in 10% of the total cohort, with no statistical difference between the IMRT and CRT groups.
Conclusion: Patients treated with IMRT for bladder cancer had significantly less acute diarrhoea compared to those treated with CRT, but there was no significant difference in late morbidity between the groups. The risk of acute diarrhoea was related to the volume of bowel irradiated.