Medline: 1908530

Journal of Urology 146(3): 798-802, 1991.

Complications following external beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer: an analysis of patients treated with and without staging pelvic lymphadenectomy.

Greskovich FJ, Zagars GK, Sherman NE, et al.


We reviewed the treatment morbidity associated with definitive high energy external beam radiotherapy in 289 consecutive patients with clinically localized prostate cancer (stages A2 to C) treated from 1984 to 1988 inclusively. All patients were treated with 18 MV. photon beams via a 4-field box technique. Radiation doses ranged from 5,858 to 6,900 cGy., with a mean dose of 6,456 cGy. and a median dose of 6,400 cGy. A total of 65 patients underwent extraperitoneal pelvic staging lymphadenectomy before radiotherapy. Complications noted in 42 patients were mild (generally trivial) in 23 and moderate in 19 (6.6%). There were no severe complications. The actuarial incidence of moderate complications was 9% at 5 years. Only 6 patients experienced symptoms for longer than 6 months. The risk of complications was not increased in patients who had undergone prior lymph node dissection, and only 2 of 65 had mild lymphedema, which resolved in both cases. We conclude that high energy external beam radiation for prostate cancer can be delivered with a low risk of serious complications, even in patients who have undergone extraperitoneal staging pelvic lymphadenectomy, provided the patients are treated to limited fields with high energy photons and at doses limited to 6,800 cGy. or less.

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