Management of Radiation Therapy Oncology Group grade 4 urinary adverse events after radiotherapy for prostate cancer

BJU Int. 2017 May;119(5):700-708. doi: 10.1111/bju.13607. Epub 2016 Aug 30.


Objective: To describe the management of Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) grade 4 urinary adverse events (UAEs) after radiotherapy (RT) for prostate cancer (PCa).

Methods: We conducted a single-centre retrospective review, over a 6-year period (2010-2015), to identify men with RTOG grade 4 UAEs after RT for PCa. RT was classified as combined therapy (radical prostatectomy [RP] followed by external beam radiotherapy [EBRT], EBRT + low-dose-rate [LDR] brachytherapy, EBRT + high-dose-rate [HDR] brachytherapy or other combinations of RT) or monotherapy RT. UAEs were classified as outlet (urethral stricture, bladder neck contracture, prostate necrosis, or recto-urethral fistula) or bladder (contraction, necrosis, fistula, ureteric stricture or haemorrhage) UAEs.

Results: We identified 73 men with a mean age of 73 years. Of these, 44 (60%) received combined therapy, consisting of RP + EBRT (n = 19), HDR brachytherapy + EBRT (n = 19), LDR brachytherapy + EBRT (n = 5), and other combined RT (n = 1). Twenty-nine (40%) patients had monotherapy consisting of EBRT (n = 4), HDR brachytherapy (n = 11), LDR brachytherapy (n = 12), or proton beam therapy (n = 2). UAEs were isolated to the bladder in six men (8%), the outlet in 52 men (71%), and to both in 15 men (21%). UAE management included: conservative in 21 (29%), indwelling catheters in 12 (16%), reconstructive in 19 (26%), and urinary diversion (UD) in 23 men (32%). Reconstruction included: ureteric (n = 4), recto-urethral fistula repair (n = 2), and posterior urethroplasty (n =13), of which 14/16 surgeries (88%) with follow-up >90 days were successful.

Conclusions: Although the incidence of RTOG grade 4 UAEs after PCa radiation treatment is not well defined, their associated morbidity is significant, and approximately one third of patients with these high-grade complications require UD. Conversely, only about a quarter of patients can be managed with conservative strategies or local surgeries. Reconstruction is successful in selected patients.

Keywords: complications; management; prostate cancer; radiation; treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Urologic Diseases / etiology*
  • Urologic Diseases / therapy*