ATLANTAMore than half of men receiving high-dose-rate brachytherapy for localized prostate cancer report some side effects that in some cases persist for up to 16 years, according to a retrospective analysis. Sven Henrik Stbinger, MD, of the University Hospital Kiel, Germany, presented the results at the American Urological Association 101st Annual Meeting (abstract 1137).
Surveys were offered to 805 men who were treated with external percutaneous radiation (70 Gy) and dose-escalating high-dose-rate brachytherapy between 1986 and 2002. Men either filled out questionnaires or were interviewed by phone. In survey results from 510 men, the most common short-term side effects included various voiding dysfunctions and diarrhea, including leakage (17%), alguria (14%), diarrhea (13%), and residual urine (12%). Late-onset side effects included proctitis (10%), incontinence (6%), urethral stricture (5%), cystitis (3%), stool incontinence (3%), fistula (1%), and urinary retention (1%).
Of the 299 men who provided information on potency, 33% reported erectile dysfunction that had developed since their treatment. "It is very difficult in a retrospective style to get information from patients before the treatment," Dr. Stbinger said at a press briefing. He noted that these retrospective results do give an idea of what clinicians, researchers, and patients might expect.