PURPOSE: Radiation therapy (RT) techniques for prostate cancer are evolving rapidly, but the impact of these changes on risk of second cancers, which are an uncommon but serious consequence of RT, are uncertain.
We conducted a comprehensive assessment of risks of second cancer according to RT technique (>10 MV vs ≤ 10 MV and 3-dimensional [3D] vs 2D RT) and modality (external beam RT, brachytherapy, and combined modes) in a large cohort of prostate cancer patients.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: The cohort was constructed using the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results-Medicare database. We included cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in patients 66 to 84 years of age from 1992 to 2004 and followed through 2009. We used Poisson regression analysis to compare rates of second cancer across RT groups with adjustment for age, follow-up, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and comorbidities. Analyses of second solid cancers were based on the number of 5-year survivors (n=38,733), and analyses of leukemia were based on number of 2-year survivors (n=52,515) to account for the minimum latency period for radiation-related cancer.
RESULTS: During an average of 4.4 years' follow-up among 5-year prostate cancer survivors (2DRT = 5.5 years; 3DRT = 3.9 years; and brachytherapy = 2.7 years), 2933 second solid cancers were diagnosed. There were no significant differences in second solid cancer rates overall between 3DRT and 2DRT patients (relative risk [RR] = 1.00, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.91-1.09), but second rectal cancer rates were significantly lower after 3DRT (RR = 0.59, 95% CI: 0.40-0.88). Rates of second solid cancers for higher- and lower-energy RT were similar overall (RR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.89-1.06), as were rates for site-specific cancers. There were significant reductions in colon cancer and leukemia rates in the first decade after brachytherapy compared to those after external beam RT.
CONCLUSIONS: Advanced treatment planning may have reduced rectal cancer risks in prostate cancer survivors by approximately 3 cases per 1000 after 15 years. Despite concerns about the neutron doses, we did not find evidence that higher energy therapy was associated with increased second cancer risks.
Berrington de Gonzalez A, Wong J, Kleinerman R, Kim C, Morton L, Bekelman JE. Are you the author?
Radiation Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland; Department of Radiation Oncology, Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Reference: Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015 Feb 1;91(2):295-302.