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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1991 Sep;21(4):935-9.

Long-term treatment sequelae following external beam irradiation for adenocarcinoma of the prostate: analysis of RTOG studies 7506 and 7706.

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Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Radiation Oncology, Milwaukee 53226.


Significant late intestinal and urinary morbidity from external beam irradiation for adenocarcinoma of the prostate has been a constant concern of both the urologist and the radiation oncologist. We analyzed two large Radiation Therapy Oncology Group trials (7506 and 7706) using primary irradiation in the treatment of local or locoregional adenocarcinoma of the prostate to assess morbidity via the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group scoring scheme (grade 1-5). One thousand twenty patients were treated in total with a minimum follow-up of 7 years in the surviving patients. There was a 3.3% incidence of intestinal complications defined as grade 3 toxicity or more with .6% of patients experiencing bowel obstruction or perforation. Urinary complications defined as grade 3 toxicity or more were found in 7.7% of patients with only 0.5% experiencing morbidity that would require a major surgical intervention such as laparotomy, cystectomy, or prolonged hospitalization. Intestinal and urinary complications were evaluated in reference to several parameters that might have an impact on their incidence (i.e., previous laparotomy, stage of disease, hypertension, positive lymph nodes, previous transurethral resection, total dose, and energy of accelerator used). Only total dose (greater than 70 Gray) was found to have a significant impact on the incidence of the urinary complications. None of these factors had a significant impact on the incidence of intestinal complications. These data from two large multi-institutional trials represent a fair estimate of the actual incidence of major intestinal and urinary complications from external beam irradiation in the management of local and locoregional adenocarcinoma of the prostate. Since the incidence of these major complications remains very low, we believe that external beam irradiation remains an excellent alternative to radical prostatectomy in the management of these patients.

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