Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1995 Nov 1;33(4):797-801.

Three dimensional conformal radiotherapy for the treatment of prostate cancer: low risk of chronic rectal morbidity observed in a large series of patients.

Author information

  • 1University of Michigan Medical Center, Department of Radiation Oncology, Ann Arbor, USA.



Three dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D CRT) may provide a technique to increase the dose delivered to target tissues while sparing uninvolved normal structures. To evaluate the role of 3D treatment in reducing the treatment toxicity, we analyzed the chronic rectal morbidity observed in a large group of patients undergoing radiotherapy for prostate cancer.


From 1987 through 1992, 721 prostate cancer patients were treated with 3D CRT at the University of Michigan or Providence Hospital. All had axial computed tomography (CT) specifically for RT planning, multiple structures contoured on the axial images, and beam's-eye-view conformal beams edited to provide 3D dose coverage. Using current American Joint Commission (AJCC) staging, 537 patients had T1-T2 tumors, 123 had T3-T4 tumors, and 60 were treated postprostatectomy. Pelvic lymph nodes were treated in 462 patients. Prostate boosts were delivered with four-field axial, six-field axial, or four-field oblique, nonaxial fields. The median dose was 68.40 Gy (range 59.4-80.4). Median follow-up was 20.4 months; 175 were followed more than 3 years. All complications have been graded conservatively using the RTOG system.


Using a Cox proportional hazard's model, patient age, T-stage, prescribed dose, pelvic treatment, and boost technique were analyzed. The factor most strongly related to risk of morbidity was dose (p = 0.05); however, the boost technique was also related: the four-field oblique field had the lowest relative risk. Most episodes of rectal morbidity have been mild: 82 Grade 1 or 2. There have been only 14 more serious complications including 12 Grade 3 and 2 Grade 4. The actuarial risk of a Grade 3 or 4 complication is 3% at 3 and 5 years.


A very small proportion of patients treated with 3D CRT had significant rectal morbidity related to RT, supporting the use of conformal treatment planning and dose delivery as a mechanism to minimize complications in the treatment of prostate cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk