PURPOSE: To investigate how treatment-related and non-treatment-related factors impact urethral pain among long-term prostate cancer survivors.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: Men treated for prostate cancer with radiation therapy at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Göteborg, Sweden from 1993 to 2006 were approached with a study-specific postal questionnaire addressing symptoms after treatment, including urethral burning pain during urination (n=985). The men had received primary or salvage external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) or EBRT in combination with brachytherapy (BT). Prescribed doses were commonly 70 Gy in 2.0-Gy fractions for primary and salvage EBRT and 50 Gy plus 2 × 10.0 Gy for EBRT + BT. Prostatic urethral doses were assessed from treatment records. We also recruited 350 non-pelvic-irradiated, population-based controls matched for age and residency to provide symptom background rates.
RESULTS: Of the treated men, 16% (137 of 863) reported urethral pain, compared with 11% (27 of 242) of the controls. The median time to follow-up was 5.2 years (range, 1.1-14.3 years). Prostatic urethral doses were similar to prescription doses for EBRT and 100% to 115% for BT. Fractionation-corrected dose and time to follow-up affected the occurrence of the symptom. For a follow-up ≥3 years, 19% of men (52 of 268) within the 70-Gy EBRT + BT group reported pain, compared with 10% of men (23 of 222) treated with 70 Gy primary EBRT (prevalence ratio 1.9; 95% confidence interval 1.2-3.0). Of the men treated with salvage EBRT, 10% (20 of 197) reported urethral pain.
CONCLUSIONS: Survivors treated with EBRT + BT had a higher risk for urethral pain compared with those treated with EBRT. The symptom prevalence decreased with longer time to follow-up. We found a relationship between fractionation-corrected urethral dose and pain. Among long-term prostate cancer survivors, the occurrence of pain was not increased above the background rate for prostatic urethral doses up to 70 Gy3.
Pettersson N, Olsson C, Tucker SL, Alsadius D, Wilderäng U, Johansson KA, Steineck G. Are you the author?
Department of Physics and Biomedical Engineering, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.
Reference: Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2013 Jan 1;85(1):e29-37.