Purpose: Hydrogel prostate-rectum spacers, biomaterials placed between the prostate and rectum, continue to gain interest as a method to reduce or limit rectal dose during dose escalated prostate cancer radiation therapy. Because the spacer is initially injected into the perirectal space as a liquid, the final distribution can vary. The purpose of this study was to evaluate hydrogel spacer (SpaceOAR system) implantation and distribution from a recent prospective randomized control trial and correlate spacer symmetry with rectal dose reduction as well as rectal wall infiltration (RWI) to acute and late toxicity.
Methods and materials: T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging sets of 149 patients enrolled in a prospective clinical trial who received transperineal spacer injection were assessed for hydrogel spacer midline symmetry and RWI using a semiqualitative scoring system. Symmetry was then correlated to rectal dose reduction using a Student t test (1-tailed, paired), whereas a Fisher exact test was used to correlate RWI with acute and late rectal toxicity. All patients had control treatment plans created before spacer injection.
Results: Hydrogel spacer was symmetrically placed at midline for 71 (47.7%) patients at the prostate midgland as well as 1 cm superior and inferior to midgland. The remaining 78 (50.9%) patients had some level of asymmetry, with only 2 (1.3%) having far lateral distribution (ie, >2 cm) of hydrogel spacer. As the hydrogel spacer became more asymmetric, the level of rectal dose reduction relative to their control plans decreased. However, all but the most asymmetrical 1.3% had significant rectal dose reduction (P < .05). Rectal wall hydrogel spacer infiltration was seen in 9 (6.0%) patients. There was no correlation between RWI and procedure-related adverse events or acute/late rectal toxicity.
Conclusions: Significant reduction of rectal dose can still be achieved even in the setting of asymmetric hydrogel spacer placement. RWI does not correlate with patient complications.
Copyright © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.