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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2005 Jun 1;62(2):437-47.

Erectile function after prostate brachytherapy.

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  • 1Schiffler Cancer Center, Wheeling, WV 26003, USA.



To evaluate erectile function after permanent prostate brachytherapy using a validated patient-administered questionnaire and to determine the effect of multiple clinical, treatment, and dosimetric parameters on penile erectile function.


A total of 226 patients with preimplant erectile function determined by the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) questionnaire underwent permanent prostate brachytherapy in two prospective randomized trials between February 2001 and January 2003 for clinical Stage T1c-T2c (2002 American Joint Committee on Cancer) prostate cancer. Of the 226 patients, 132 were potent before treatment and, of those, 128 (97%) completed and returned the IIEF questionnaire after brachytherapy. The median follow-up was 29.1 months. Potency was defined as an IIEF score of > or =13. The clinical, treatment, and dosimetric parameters evaluated included patient age; preimplant IIEF score; clinical T stage; pretreatment prostate-specific antigen level; Gleason score; elapsed time after implantation; preimplant nocturnal erections; body mass index; presence of hypertension or diabetes mellitus; tobacco consumption; the volume of the prostate gland receiving 100%, 150%, and 200% of the prescribed dose (V(100/150/200)); the dose delivered to 90% of the prostate gland (D(90)); androgen deprivation therapy; supplemental external beam radiotherapy (EBRT); isotope; prostate volume; planning volume; and radiation dose to the proximal penis.


The 3-year actuarial rate of potency preservation was 50.5%. For patients who maintained adequate posttreatment erectile function, the preimplant IIEF score was 29, and in patients with brachytherapy-related ED, the preimplant IIEF score was 25. The median time to the onset of ED was 5.4 months. After brachytherapy, the median IIEF score was 20 in potent patients and 3 in impotent patients. On univariate analysis, the preimplant IIEF score, patient age, presence of nocturnal erections, and dose to the proximal penis predicted for postimplant erectile function. However, in multivariate analysis, only the preimplant IIEF score and the D(50) to the proximal crura were statistically significant predictors of brachytherapy-related erectile function.


Using a patient-administered validated quality-of-life instrument, brachytherapy-induced ED occurred in 50% of patients at 3 years. On multivariate analysis, preimplant erectile function and the D(50) to the proximal crura were the best predictors of brachytherapy-related erectile function. Because the proximal penis is the most significant treatment-related predictor of brachytherapy-related ED, techniques to minimize the radiation dose to the proximal penis may result in improved rates of potency preservation.

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