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Acta Oncol. 2005;44(7):673-8.

Radiation therapy for prostate cancer and erectile (dys)function: the role of imaging.

Author information

  • Department of Radiation Oncology, Erasmus MC-Daniel den Hoed Cancer Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. l.incrocci@erasmusmc.nl

Abstract

Incidence of erectile dysfunction (ED) after radiotherapy reported in the literature varies from 7 to 72% after external-beam radiotherapy to 5-51% after brachytherapy. Most of these studies are retrospective, the definition of ED is variable and sexual functioning is frequently assessed by asking only one question. Already in the 1980's it was suggested that post-radiation ED was attributable to vascular damage. The most reliable method to assess vasculogenic ED is the use of the Doppler ultrasound. More recently, many studies have assessed the relationship between radiation dose and volume of the penile bulb and post-radiation ED, though the outcome is controversial. The penile structures and the neurovascular bundles are best seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Therefore the use of a computer tomography scan/MRI image fusion can result in reducing the planning target volume and consequently the radiation dose to the penile bulb and bodies. If radiation induces vascular damage that causes ED, any means of reducing the dose to the pelvic vascular structures would likely decrease ED, therefore new radiation techniques such as the intensity modulated radiation therapy or the implant of fiducial markers can help decrease the margins and therefore ED.

PMID:
16227156
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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