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Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2006 Aug;18(6):474-9.

High dose rate iridium-192 brachytherapy as a component of radical radiotherapy for the treatment of localised prostate cancer.

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Mount Vernon Centre for Cancer Treatment, Northwood, Middlesex, UK.



To assess the treatment outcomes and toxicity of conformal high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy boost as a means of radiation dose escalation in patients with localised prostate cancer.


Between December 1998 and July 2004, 65 consecutive patients with localised prostate cancer (magnetic resonance imaging-staged T1-3 N0 M0) were treated with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) followed by two fractions of HDR iridium-192 brachytherapy. The patients selected this treatment modality in preference to entering an ongoing randomised phase 3 trial. Any pre-treatment serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and Gleason score were included. The primary end point was biochemical disease-free progression. Late treatment-related morbidity was graded according to the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer criteria.


The median patient age was 67.3 years (range 47.9-80). Sixty patients (92.3%) had intermediate- to high-risk disease defined by clinical stage, presenting PSA and Gleason score/World Health Organisation (WHO) grade. With a median follow-up of 3.5 years (range 0.6-5.8), two patients had died of metastatic disease and another four patients had PSA relapse, giving a 3-year actuarial biochemical disease-free progression of 90.8%. Three patients (4.6%) had acute grade 3 genitourinary toxicity, in the form of urinary retention. Late grade 3 and 4 genitourinary toxicities occurred in four patients (6.2%) and one patient (1.5%), respectively. No late gastrointestinal toxicities were observed.


These results suggest that the combined modality of conformal HDR brachytherapy and EBRT is a feasible treatment modality with acceptable acute and late toxicities, comparable with those of EBRT alone. It offers an attractive conformal treatment modality with the potential of further dose escalation in the treatment of localised prostate cancer.

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