David C. Beyer, MD

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Salvage Brachytherapy After External-Beam Irradiation for Prostate Cancer

February 1st 2004

The options available for patients with recurrent prostate cancerare limited. Men who have failed external-beam irradiation as the primarytreatment are rarely considered for potentially curative salvagetherapy. Traditionally, only palliative treatments have been offered withhormonal intervention or simple observation. A significant percentageof these patients have only locally recurrent cancer and are thus candidatesfor curative salvage therapy. Permanent brachytherapy withiodine-125 or palladium-103 has been used in an attempt to eradicatethe remaining prostate cancer and prevent the need for additional intervention.It is critical in this population to identify patients most likelyto have distant metastases or who are unlikely to suffer death or morbidityfrom their recurrence, in order to avoid potential treatmentmorbidity in those unlikely to benefit from any intervention. Followingsalvage brachytherapy, up to 98% of these cancers may be locally controlled,and 5-year freedom from second relapse is approximately 50%.With careful case selection, relapse-free rates up to 83% may beachieved. A schema is presented, suggesting that it may be possible toidentify the patients most likely to benefit from salvage treatment basedon prostate-specific antigen (PSA) kinetics and other features. Suchfeatures include histologically confirmed local recurrence, clinical andradiologic evidence of no distant disease, adequate urinary function,age, and overall health indicative of at least a 5- to 10-year life expectancy,prolonged disease-free interval (> 2 years), slow PSA doublingtime, Gleason sum ≤ 6, and PSA < 10 ng/mL.