Low dose rate brachytherapy for primary treatment of localized prostate cancer: A systemic review and executive summary of an evidence-based consensus statement

Brachytherapy. 2021 Nov-Dec;20(6):1114-1129. doi: 10.1016/j.brachy.2021.07.006. Epub 2021 Sep 9.


Purpose: The purpose of this guideline is to present evidence-based consensus recommendations for low dose rate (LDR) permanent seed brachytherapy for the primary treatment of prostate cancer.

Methods and materials: The American Brachytherapy Society convened a task force for addressing key questions concerning ultrasound-based LDR prostate brachytherapy for the primary treatment of prostate cancer. A comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify prospective and multi-institutional retrospective studies involving LDR brachytherapy as monotherapy or boost in combination with external beam radiation therapy with or without adjuvant androgen deprivation therapy. Outcomes included disease control, toxicity, and quality of life.

Results: LDR prostate brachytherapy monotherapy is an appropriate treatment option for low risk and favorable intermediate risk disease. LDR brachytherapy boost in combination with external beam radiation therapy is appropriate for unfavorable intermediate risk and high-risk disease. Androgen deprivation therapy is recommended in unfavorable intermediate risk and high-risk disease. Acceptable radionuclides for LDR brachytherapy include iodine-125, palladium-103, and cesium-131. Although brachytherapy monotherapy is associated with increased urinary obstructive and irritative symptoms that peak within the first 3 months after treatment, the median time toward symptom resolution is approximately 1 year for iodine-125 and 6 months for palladium-103. Such symptoms can be mitigated with short-term use of alpha blockers. Combination therapy is associated with worse urinary, bowel, and sexual symptoms than monotherapy. A prostate specific antigen <= 0.2 ng/mL at 4 years after LDR brachytherapy may be considered a biochemical definition of cure.

Conclusions: LDR brachytherapy is a convenient, effective, and well-tolerated treatment for prostate cancer.

Keywords: Brachytherapy; Cesium-131; Iodine-125; Low dose rate; Palladium-125; Prostate.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Brachytherapy* / methods
  • Consensus
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen