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J Natl Med Assoc. 2010 Jun;102(6):500-10.

A review of low-dose-rate prostate brachytherapy--techniques and outcomes.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine, GA 30322, USA.


Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of male cancer death. The main therapeutic modalities for the treatment of prostate cancer are surgery, external beam radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, and brachytherapy. In recent years, brachytherapy has been increasingly utilized for the treatment of early-stage prostate cancer. Technological advances, including improvements in imaging, planning, and postimplant quality assessment by dosimetry have led to widespread use of brachytherapy. Outcomes for prostate brachytherapy have been shown to be equivalent, in selected patients, to those of other treatment modalities for prostate cancer, including radical prostatectomy and external beam radiation therapy. Further, prostate brachytherapy has quality-of-life benefits in comparison to these other treatment modalities, particularly in the domain of sexual function. This paper describes the history of low-dose rate brachytherapy; current techniques for brachytherapy implantation and postoperative dosimetric evaluation; recent outcomes studies; recent quality-of-life analyses; and current and future prostate brachytherapy developments, including open clinical trials. As research in prostate brachytherapy continues, it is likely that this modality will play an increasingly important role in the treatment of early-stage prostate cancer patients in the future.

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