Permanent interstitial low-dose-rate brachytherapy for patients with localised prostate cancer: A systematic review of randomised and nonrandomised controlled clinical trials - Abstract

IQWiG Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, Cologne, Germany.


Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common cancer in men. Permanent interstitial low-dose-rate brachytherapy (LDR-BT) is a short-distance radiation therapy in which low-energy radioactive sources are implanted permanently into the prostate.

To assess the effectiveness and safety of LDR-BT compared to treatment alternatives in men with localised PCa.

Bibliographic databases (Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Library) were searched from inception until June 2010 for randomised and nonrandomised controlled trials comparing LDR-BT with radical prostatectomy (RP), external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT), or no primary therapy (NPT). Primary outcome was overall survival (OS). Secondary outcomes were disease-free survival (DFS), biochemical recurrence-free survival (bRFS), physician-reported severe adverse events (SAE), and patient-reported outcomes (PRO).

A total of 31 studies, including 1 randomised controlled trial (RCT), were identified. Risk of bias was high for all 31 studies. OS was reported in one nonrandomised controlled study; however, these data were not interpretable because of strong residual confounding. DFS was not reported. Comparison of bRFS between treatment groups is not validated; thus, results were not interpretable. Physician-reported urogenital late toxicity grade 2 to 3 was more common in the LDR-BT group when compared to the EBRT group. With respect to PRO, better scores for sexual and urinary function as well as urinary incontinence were reported for LDR-BT compared to RP. Better scores for bowel function were reported for LDR-BT compared to EBRT.

We found a low amount of evidence in studies that exclusively compared LDR-BT with other treatment modalities. LDR-BT may have some different physician-reported SAE and patient-reported outcomes. The current evidence is insufficient to allow a definitive conclusion about OS. Randomised trials focusing on long-term survival are needed to clarify the relevance of LDR-BT in patients with localised PCa.

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

Reference: Eur Urol. 2011 Jun 29. Epub ahead of print.
doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2011.06.044

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 21763066 Prostate Cancer Section