Non-surgically related causes of erectile dysfunction after bilateral nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy

Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2016 Jun;19(2):185-90. doi: 10.1038/pcan.2016.1. Epub 2016 Feb 9.


Background: Erectile dysfunction (ED) represents one of the most common long-term side effects in prostate cancer (PCa) patients treated with bilateral nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy (BNSRP). The aim of our study was to assess the influence of non-surgically related causes of ED in patients treated with BNSRP.

Methods: Overall, 716 patients treated with BNSRP were retrospectively identified. All patients had complete data on erectile function (EF) assessed by the Index of Erectile Function-EF domain (IIEF-EF) and depressive status assessed by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression (CES-D) questionnaire. EF recovery was defined as an IIEF-EF of ⩾22. Kaplan-Meier analyses assessed the impact of preoperative IIEF-EF, depression and adjuvant radiotherapy (aRT) on the time to EF recovery. Multivariable Cox regression models were used to test the impact of aRT on EF recovery after accounting for depression and baseline IIEF-EF.

Results: Median follow-up was 48 months. Patients with a preoperative IIEF-EF of ⩾22 had substantially higher EF recovery rates compared with those with a lower IIEF-EF (P<0.001). Patients with a CES-D of <16 had significantly higher EF recovery rates compared to those with depression (60.8 vs 49.2%; P=0.03). Patients receiving postoperative aRT had lower rates of EF compared with their counterparts left untreated after surgery (40.7 vs 59.8%; P<0.001). These results were confirmed in multivariable analyses, where preoperative IIEF-EF (P<0.001), depression (P=0.04) and aRT (P=0.03) were confirmed as significant predictors of EF recovery.

Conclusions: Preoperative functional status and depression should be considered when counseling PCa patients regarding the long-term side effects of BNSRP. Moreover, the administration of aRT has a detrimental effect on the probability of recovering EF after BNSRP. This should be taken into account when balancing the potential benefits and side effects of multimodal therapies in PCa patients.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prostatectomy* / methods
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / complications*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies