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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Jul 15;83(4):1154-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2011.09.055. Epub 2012 Jan 21.

The impact of brachytherapy on prostate cancer-specific mortality for definitive radiation therapy of high-grade prostate cancer: a population-based analysis.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.



This population-based analysis compared prostate cancer-specific mortality (PCSM) in a cohort of patients with high-risk prostate cancer after nonsurgical treatment with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), brachytherapy (BT), or combination (BT + EBRT).


We identified from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results database patients diagnosed from 1988 through 2002 with T1-T3N0M0 prostate adenocarcinoma of poorly differentiated grade and treated with BT, EBRT, or BT + EBRT. During this time frame, the database defined high grade as prostate cancers with Gleason score 8-10, or Gleason grade 4-5 if the score was not recorded. This corresponds to a cohort primarily with high-risk prostate cancer, although some cases where only Gleason grade was recorded may have included intermediate-risk cancer. We used multivariate models to examine patient and tumor characteristics associated with the likelihood of treatment with each radiation modality and the effect of radiation modality on PCSM.


There were 12,745 patients treated with EBRT (73.5%), BT (7.1%), or BT + EBRT (19.4%) included in the analysis. The median follow-up time for all patients was 6.4 years. The use of BT or BT + EBRT increased from 5.1% in 1988-1992 to 31.4% in 1998-2002. Significant predictors of use of BT or BT + EBRT were younger age, later year of diagnosis, urban residence, and earlier T-stage. On multivariate analysis, treatment with either BT (hazard ratio, 0.66; 95% confidence interval, 0.49-0.86) or BT + EBRT (hazard ratio, 0.77; 95% confidence ratio, 0.66-0.90) was associated with significant reduction in PCSM compared with EBRT alone.


In patients with high-grade prostate cancer, treatment with brachytherapy is associated with reduced PCSM compared with EBRT alone. Our results suggest that brachytherapy should be investigated as a component of definitive treatment strategies for patients with high-risk prostate cancer.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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