Send to

Choose Destination
Radiother Oncol. 2004 Oct;73(1):39-48.

Clinical and physical determinants for toxicity of 125-I seed prostate brachytherapy.

Author information

Clinic for Radiation Medicine, Charité Medical School, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin, Germany.



To assess acute as well as long-term toxicity after permanent prostate seed implantation. To find predictive clinical or dosimetric factors for side effects in order to work out strategies for improvement.


A group of 174 patients with localised prostate cancer was treated with permanent seed implantation between 1999 and 2001, either alone (140 patients) or in combination with external radiotherapy (34 patients). For the majority (114/174, i.e. 66%) a CT was performed four weeks after implantation and analysed in the planning system VariSeed. In the postimplant analysis, dosimetric descriptors (doses, volumes) were determined for the prostate and rectum and compared with the intraoperative values. In addition, a questionnaire was sent to all patients to assess and quantify acute and chronic toxicity (urinary, rectal, sexual) and the impact on subjective acceptance and quality of life (return rate of questionnaires 83%). The derived score changes were correlated with clinical and dosimetric factors.


In the mono-brachytherapy group 14% (16/140) required a bladder catheter, of them 8% (9/140) with a manifest urinary obstruction. Long-term rectal toxicity (<5%) and impairment of potency (<30%) are moderate and obviously below other treatment options. Urinary toxicity is dominant with an overall long-term dysuria up to 30% (at a mean observation interval of ten months), and a significant trend to decline with follow-up time. Conversely, the erectile function tends to deteriorate with follow-up time. Nevertheless, quality of life is not significantly reduced and acceptance is high. Our analysis suggests that the main factor for urinary toxicity and impaired erectile function is the dose load to larger portions of the prostate (D(50)>240 Gy), which appears to be attributed to unnecessarily high numbers of seeds (for a fixed activity per seed) and needles. The rectal toxicity is correlated with the high dose regions in the rectum (>/=145 Gy). Urinary toxicity is lower for combined-brachytherapy, while rectal toxicity and impairment of potency are slightly higher.


Toxicity spectrum and quality of life after permanent seed implantation for early prostate cancer are acceptable for nearly all patients (98%). To further improve tolerance we should attempt to achieve a better dose homogeneity, i.e. by reducing D(50). Therefore, special attention should be given to D(50) during the real-time planning process. The necessity of more homogeneous dose distributions might imply a reduction of the activity per seed, e.g. from 0.7 mCi down to 0.6 mCi.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center