Permanent prostate brachytherapy: is supplemental external-beam radiation therapy necessary?

Permanent prostate brachytherapy with or without supplemental therapies is a highly effective treatment for clinically localized prostate cancer, with biochemical outcomes and morbidity profiles comparing favorably with competing local modalities. However, the absence of prospective randomized brachytherapy trials evaluating the role of supplemental external-beam radiation therapy (XRT) has precluded the development of evidence-based treatment algorithms for the appropriate inclusion of such treatment. Some groups advocate supplemental XRT for all patients, but the usefulness of this technology remains largely unproven and has been questioned by recent reports of favorable biochemical outcomes following brachytherapy used alone in patients at higher risk. Given that brachytherapy can be used at high intraprostatic doses and can obtain generous periprostatic treatment margins, the use of supplemental XRT may be relegated to patients with a high risk of seminal vesicle and/or pelvic lymph node involvement. Although morbidity following brachytherapy has been acceptable, supplemental XRT has shown an adverse impact on long-term quality of life. The completion of ongoing prospective randomized trials will help define the role of XRT as a supplement to permanent prostate brachytherapy.
AuthorsGregory S Merrick, Kent E Wallner, Wayne M Butler, John C Blasko
JournalOncology (Williston Park, N.Y.) (Oncology (Williston Park)) Vol. 20 Issue 5 Pg. 514-22; discussion 522-5 (Apr 2006) ISSN: 0890-9091 [Print] United States
PMID16739748 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Review)
  • Brachytherapy (economics, methods)
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Prostatic Neoplasms (pathology, radiotherapy)
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant (economics)
  • Radiotherapy, High-Energy (adverse effects, economics)
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk
  • Seminal Vesicles (pathology, radiation effects)

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