Improved rectal dosimetry with the use of SpaceOAR during high-dose-rate brachytherapy

Brachytherapy. Mar-Apr 2018;17(2):259-264. doi: 10.1016/j.brachy.2017.10.014. Epub 2017 Dec 2.


Purpose: Hydrogel spacers have been suggested to limit rectal radiation dose with improvements in clinical outcomes in patients undergoing external beam radiation treatment for prostate cancer. No studies to date have assessed the utility and dosimetric effect of SpaceOAR (Augmenix, Inc, Waltham, MA), the only Food and Drug Administration-approved hydrogel rectal spacer, for high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy.

Methods: Eighteen consecutive patients scheduled for HDR brachytherapy in the treatment of prostate cancer underwent transperineal ultrasound-guided placement of 10 cc of SpaceOAR hydrogel following catheter implantation. Treatment plans were generated using an inverse planning simulated annealing algorithm. Rectal dosimetry for these 18 patients was compared with the 36 preceding patients treated with HDR brachytherapy without SpaceOAR.

Results: Fifty-four plans were analyzed. There was no difference in age, pretreatment prostate-specific antigen, Gleason score, clinical stage, prostate volume, or contoured rectal volume between those who received SpaceOAR and those who did not. Patients who received SpaceOAR hydrogel had significantly lower dose to the rectum as measured by percent of contoured organ at risk (median, V80 < 0.005% vs. 0.010%, p = 0.003; V75 < 0.005% vs. 0.14%, p < 0.0005; V70 0.09% vs. 0.88%, p < 0.0005; V60 = 1.16% vs. 3.08%, p < 0.0005); similar results were seen for rectal volume in cubic centimeters. One patient who received SpaceOAR developed a perineal abscess 1 month after treatment.

Conclusions: Transperineal insertion of SpaceOAR hydrogel at the time of HDR brachytherapy is feasible and decreases rectal radiation dose. Further investigation is needed to assess the clinical impact of this dosimetric improvement and potential toxicity reduction.

Keywords: Brachytherapy; Dosimetry; Hydrogel; Prostate cancer; Rectal protection.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Brachytherapy / adverse effects
  • Brachytherapy / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organs at Risk / radiation effects
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted
  • Rectum / radiation effects*


  • Hydrogels