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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2008 Oct 1;72(2):421-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2007.12.024. Epub 2008 Mar 5.

Health-related quality of life 2 years after treatment with radical prostatectomy, prostate brachytherapy, or external beam radiotherapy in patients with clinically localized prostate cancer.

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  • 1Unidad de Investigación en Servicios Sanitarios, IMIM-Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain.



To compare treatment impact on health-related quality of life (HRQL) in patients with localized prostate cancer, from before treatment to 2 years after the intervention.


This was a longitudinal, prospective study of 614 patients with localized prostate cancer treated with radical prostatectomy (134), three-dimensional external conformal radiotherapy (205), and brachytherapy (275). The HRQL questionnaires administered before and after treatment (months 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24) were the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form, the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (General and Prostate Specific), the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite (EPIC), and the American Urological Association Symptom Index. Differences between groups were tested by analysis of variance and within-group changes by univariate repeated-measures analysis of variance. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) models were constructed to assess between-group differences in HRQL at 2 years of follow-up after adjusting for clinical variables.


In each treatment group, HRQL initially deteriorated after treatment with subsequent partial recovery. However, some dimension scores were still significantly lower after 2 years of treatment. The GEE models showed that, compared with the brachytherapy group, radical prostatectomy patients had worse EPIC sexual summary and urinary incontinence scores (-20.4 and -14.1; p < 0.001), and external radiotherapy patients had worse EPIC bowel, sexual, and hormonal summary scores (-3.55, -5.24, and -1.94; p < 0.05). Prostatectomy patients had significantly better EPIC urinary irritation scores than brachytherapy patients (+4.16; p < 0.001).


Relevant differences between treatment groups persisted after 2 years of follow-up. Radical prostatectomy had a considerable negative effect on sexual functioning and urinary continence. Three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy had a moderate negative impact on bowel functioning, and brachytherapy caused moderate urinary irritation. These results provide relevant information for clinical decision making.

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