High-dose-rate Brachytherapy Monotherapy Versus Low-Dose-Rate Brachytherapy With or Without External Beam Radiotherapy for Clinically Localized Prostate Cancer

Radiother Oncol. 2019 Mar;132:162-170. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2018.10.020. Epub 2018 Nov 8.


Background: To compare the outcome of high-dose-rate interstitial brachytherapy (HDR-BT) monotherapy and low-dose-rate brachytherapy (LDR-BT) with or without external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) for localized prostate cancer.

Methods and materials: We compared 352 patients treated with HDR-BT as monotherapy (median follow-up time 84 months, NCCN risk classification; low: intermediate: high = 28:145:179) and 486 patients with LDR-BT with or without EBRT (90 months, 194:254:38). HDR-BT treated advanced disease with more hormonal therapy than LDR-BT. LDR-BT excluded patients with T3b-T4 tumor and initial PSA >50 ng/ml. Inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) involving propensity scores was used to reduce background selection bias.

Results: The actuarial 5-year biochemical failure-free survival rates (bNED) were 92.9% and 95.6% (p = 0.25) in the HDR-BT and LDR-BT groups, respectively, and it was 100% and 97.3% (p = 0.99) in the low-risk, 95.6% and 94.3% (p = 0.19) in the intermediate, 89.6% and 94.9% (p = 0.26) in the high-risk groups, and 93.1% and 94.9% (p = 0.98) in selected high-risk group excluding T3b-4 and initial PSA ≥50. IPTW correction also indicated no difference in bNED between LDR-BT and HDR-BT groups. LDR-BT showed a higher incidence of genitourinary (GU) toxicity grade ≥2 than that of HDR-BT in the acute phase and grade 1 toxicity in late phase. Acute GU toxicity grade ≥1 predicted late GU toxicity grade ≥2. External beam radiotherapy plus LDR-BT elevated GI toxicity than LDR-BT only group. Accumulated incidence of late grade ≥2 GU and GU toxicity was equivalent between HDR-BT and LDR-BT. No grade 4 or 5 toxicities were detected in either modality.

Conclusion: HDR-BT monotherapy showed an equivalent outcome to that of LDR-BT with or without EBRT for low-, intermediate- and selected high-risk patients. LDR-BT showed equivalent incidence of grade ≥2 late GI and GU toxicities and higher grade ≥2 acute GU toxicity as that of HDR-BT as a monotherapy.

Keywords: Brachytherapy; High dose rate; Low dose rate; Prostate cancer.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brachytherapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Propensity Score
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Survival Rate