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Complications following surgery with or without radiotherapy or radiotherapy alone for prostate cancer


Background — Men undergoing treatment of clinically localised prostate cancer may experience a number of treatment-related complications, which affect their quality of life.

Methods — On the basis of population-based retrospective cohort of men undergoing surgery, with or without subsequent radiotherapy, or radiotherapy alone for prostate cancer in Ontario, Canada, the researchers measured the incidence of treatment-related complications using administrative and billing data.

Results — Of 36,984 patients, 15,870 (42.9%) underwent surgery alone, 4,519 (12.2%) underwent surgery followed by radiotherapy, and 16,595 (44.9%) underwent radiotherapy alone. For all end points except urologic procedures, the 5-year cumulative incidence rates were lowest in the surgery only group and highest in the radiotherapy only group. Intermediary rates were seen in the surgery followed by radiotherapy group, except for urologic procedures where rates were the highest in this group. Although age and comorbidity were important predictors, radiotherapy as the primary treatment modality was associated with higher rates for all complications (adjusted hazard ratios 1.6–4.7, P=0.002 to <0.0001).

Conclusions — In patients treated for prostate cancer, radiation after surgery increases the rate of complications compared with surgery alone, though these rates remain lower than patients treated with radiation alone. This information may inform patient and physician decision making in the treatment of prostate cancer.



Wallis CJ, Cheung P, Herschorn S, Saskin R, Su J, Klotz LH, Kulkarni GS, Lee Y, Kodama RT, Narod SA, Nam RK. Br J Cancer. 2015; 112(6):977-82. Epub 2015 Feb 17.

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