Background and purpose: For localized prostate cancer, treatment options include external beam radiotherapy (EBRT), radical prostatectomy (RP), and brachytherapy (BT). Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common side-effect. Our aim was to evaluate penile erectile function (EF) before and after BT, EBRT, or RP using a validated self-administered quality-of-life survey from a prospective registry.
Material and methods: Analysis included 478 patients undergoing RP (n = 252), EBRT (n = 91), and BT (n = 135) with at least 1 year of follow-up and EF documented using IIEF-5 scores at baseline, 6 weeks, 6 months, 1 year, and annually thereafter.
Results: Differences among treatments were most pronounced among patients with no or mild initial ED (IIEF-5 ≥ 17). Overall, corrected for baseline EF and age, BT was associated with higher IIEF-5 scores than RP (+ 7.8 IIEF-5 score) or EBRT (+ 3.1 IIEF-5 score). EBRT was associated with better IIEF-5 scores than RP (+ 4.7 IIEF-5 score). In patients undergoing EBRT or RP with bilateral nerve sparing (NS), recovery of EF was observed and during follow-up, the differences to BT were not statistically significant. Overall age had a negative impact on EF preservation (corrected for baseline IIEF).
Conclusion: In our series, EF was adversely affected by each treatment modality. Considered overall, BT provided the best EF preservation in comparison to EBRT or RP.
Keywords: Brachytherapy; Erectile dysfunction; Prostatectomy; Quality of life; Radiotherapy.