Quality of life is an important consideration in the treatment of early prostate cancer. Laboratory and clinical data suggest that higher radiation doses delivered to the bulb of penis and proximal penile structures correlates with higher rates of post-radiation impotence. The goal of this investigation was to determine if intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) spares dose to the penile bulb while maintaining coverage of the prostate. 10 consecutive patients with clinically organ confined prostate cancer were planned with 3D conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT) or IMRT to give a dose of 74 Gy without specifically constraining the plans to spare the penile bulb. All 10 patients were ultimately treated with IMRT. Dose-volume histograms were evaluated and the doses to prostate, rectum, bladder and penile bulb were compared. IMRT reduced the mean penile bulb doses compared with 3D-CRT (33.2 Gy vs 48.9 Gy, p<0.001), the percentage of penile bulb receiving over 40 Gy (37.7% vs 67.2%, p<0.001) and the dose received by >95% of penile bulb (5.3 Gy vs 11.7 Gy, p=0.003). Maximum penile bulb doses were higher with IMRT (81.2 Gy vs 73.1 Gy, p<0.001) although the volume of this high dose region was small. Both methods resulted in similar coverage of the prostate. The volume of rectum receiving 70 Gy was significantly reduced with IMRT (18.4% vs 21.9%, p=0.003) but the volumes of bladder receiving 70 Gy were similar (p=0.3). IMRT may potentially reduce long term sexual morbidity by reducing the dose to the majority of the penile bulb.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging