Low-dose rate brachytherapy for men with localized prostate cancer - Abstract

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), Dillenburger Str. 27, Cologne, Germany, 51105.


Localized prostate cancer is a slow growing tumor for many years for the majority of affected men. Low-dose rate brachytherapy (LDR-BT) is short-distance radiotherapy using low-energy radioactive sources. LDR-BT has been recommended for men with low risk localized prostate cancer.

To assess the benefit and harm of LDR-BT compared to radical prostatectomy (RP), external beam radiotherapy (EBRT), and no primary therapy (NPT) in men with localized prostatic cancer.

The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE (from 1950), and EMBASE (from 1980) were searched in June 2010 as well as online trials registers and reference lists of reviews.

Selection Criteria: Randomized, controlled trials comparing LDR-BT versus RP, EBRT, and NPT in men with clinically localized prostate cancer.

Data on study methods, participants, treatment regimens, observation period and outcomes were recorded by two reviewers independently.

We identified only one RCT (N = 200; mean follow up 68 months). This trial compared LDR-BT and RP. The risk of bias was deemed high. Primary outcomes (overall survival, cause-specific mortality, or metastatic-free survival) were not reported. Biochemical recurrence-free survival at 5 years follow up was not significantly different between LDR-BT (78/85 (91.8%)) and RP (81/89 (91.0%)); P = 0.875; relative risk 0.92 (95% CI: 0.35 to 2.42).For severe adverse events reported at 6 months follow up, results favored LDR-BT for urinary incontinence (LDR-BT 0/85 (0.0%) versus RP 16/89 (18.0%); P < 0.001; relative risk 0) and favored RP for urinary irritation (LDR-BT 68/85 (80.0%) versus RP 4/89 (4.5%); P < 0.001; relative risk 17.80, 95% CI 6.79 to 46.66). The occurrence of urinary stricture did not significantly differ between the treatment groups (LDR-BT 2/85 (2.4%) versus RP 6/89 (6.7%); P = 0.221; relative risk 0.35, 95% CI: 0.07 to 1.68). Long-term information was not available.We did not identify significant differences of mean scores between treatment groups for patient-reported outcomes function and bother as well as generic health-related quality of life.

Low-dose rate brachytherapy did not reduce biochemical recurrence-free survival versus radical prostatectomy at 5 years. For short-term severe adverse events, low-dose rate brachytherapy was significantly more favorable for urinary incontinence, but radical prostatectomy was significantly more favorable for urinary irritation. Evidence is based on one RCT with high risk of bias.

Written by:
Peinemann F, Grouven U, Hemkens LG, Bartel C, Borchers H, Pinkawa M, Heidenreich A, Sauerland S.   Are you the author?

Reference: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jul 6;(7):CD008871.
doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008871.pub2

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 21735436

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