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World J Urol. 2009 Oct;27(5):607-12. doi: 10.1007/s00345-009-0418-9. Epub 2009 May 20.

Radical retropubic prostatectomy versus brachytherapy for low-risk prostatic cancer: a prospective study.

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Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, San Paolo Hospital, 17100 Savona, Italy.



To compare the oncological and functional outcomes reported after radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP) versus brachytherapy (BT) in the treatment of low-risk prostatic cancer (CaP).


Between May 1999 and October 2002, 200 patients (mean age 65.3 +/- 8.7) were enrolled and randomized into two groups of 100 patients each to undergo RRP (group 1) or BT (group 2). Prior to and following treatment, all patients were evaluated by physical examination, PSA assay and compilation of IPSS, IIEF-5 and EORTC-QLQ-C30/PR25 questionnaires. Oncological results were reported at 5 years, while functional outcomes were reported at 6 months, and 1 and 5 years mean follow-up.


Of the 200 patients studied, 174 completed the 5-year follow-up assessment. With regards to oncological outcomes, similar 5-year biochemical disease-free survival rates were reported for RRP (91.0%) or BT (91.7%). At 6 months and 1 year, both techniques produced a significant decrease in quality of life aspects, while group 2 patients reported a significantly higher and longer lasting rate of urinary irritative disorders and better erective function than group 1. No differences in functional outcomes were encountered after 5 years in either group.


RRP and BT are two different options for the treatment of low-risk CaP, which produce different short-term sequelae in terms of urinary disorders and erective functions, but similar biochemical disease-free survival. Further studies with a higher number of patients and a longer follow-up are needed to evaluate their comparative effectiveness on overall disease-specific survival and metastatic disease.

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