Relationships between dose to the gastro-intestinal tract and patient-reported symptom domains after radiotherapy for localized prostate cancer.

Gastrointestinal (GI) morbidity after radiotherapy (RT) for prostate cancer is typically addressed by studying specific single symptoms. The aim of this study was to explore the interplay between domains of patient- reported outcomes (PROs) on GI morbidity, and to what extent these are explained by RT dose to the GI tract.

The study included men from two Scandinavian studies (N = 211/277) who had undergone primary external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) for localized prostate cancer to 70-78 Gy (2 Gy/fraction). Factor analysis was applied to previously identified PRO-based symptom domains from two study-specific questionnaires. Number of questions: 43; median time to follow-up: 3. 6-6. 4 years) and dose-response outcome variables were defined from these domains. Dose/volume parameters of the anal sphincter (AS) or the rectum were tested as predictors for each outcome variable using logistic regression with 10-fold cross-validation. Performance was assessed using area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (Az) and model frequency.

Outcome variables from Defecation urgency (number of symptoms: 2-3), Fecal leakage (4-6), Mucous (4), and Pain (3-6) were defined. In both cohorts, intermediate rectal doses predicted Defecation urgency (mean Az: 0. 53-0. 54; Frequency: 70-75%), and near minimum and low AS doses predicted Fecal leakage (mean Az: 0. 63-0. 67; Frequency: 83-99%). In one cohort, high AS doses predicted Mucous (mean Az: 0. 54; Frequency: 96%), whereas in the other, low AS doses and intermediate rectal doses predicted Pain (mean Az: 0. 69; Frequency: 28-82%).

We have demonstrated that Defecation urgency, Fecal leakage, Mucous, and Pain following primary EBRT for localized prostate cancer primarily are predicted by intermediate rectal doses, low AS doses, high AS doses, or a combination of low AS and intermediate rectal doses, respectively. This suggests that there is a domain-specific dose-response for the GI tract. To reduce risk of GI morbidity, dose distributions of both the AS region and the rectum should, therefore, be considered when prescribing prostate cancer RT.

Acta oncologica (Stockholm, Sweden). 2015 Sep 04 [Epub ahead of print]

Maria Thor, Caroline E Olsson, Jung Hun Oh, Stine E Petersen, David Alsadius, Lise Bentzen, Niclas Pettersson, Ludvig P Muren, Ann-Charlotte Waldenström, Morten Høyer, Gunnar Steineck, Joseph O Deasy

a Department of Medical Physics , Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center , New York , USA.