Quality of life impact of treatments for localized prostate cancer: Cohort study with a 5 year follow-up

Montse Ferrer, Ferran Guedea, José Francisco Suárez, Belén De Paula, Víctor Macías, Alfonso Mariño, Asunción Hervás, Ismael Herruzo, María José Ortiz, Javier Ponce De León, Gemma Sancho, Ana Boladeras, Adriana Ayala, Jordi Craven-Bratle, Mónica Ávila, Oriol Cunillera, Yolanda Pardo, Jordi Alonso, Ferran Aguiló

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Purpose To assess long-term quality of life (QoL) impact of treatments in localized prostate cancer patients treated with radical prostatectomy, external beam radiotherapy or brachytherapy. Material and methods Observational, prospective cohort study with pre-treatment QoL evaluation and follow-up until five years after treatment. 704 patients with low or intermediate risk localized prostate cancer were consecutively recruited in 2003-2005. QoL was measured by the EPIC questionnaire, with urinary irritative-obstructive, incontinence, bowel, sexual, and hormonal scores (ranging 0-100). Results Brachytherapy's QoL impact was restricted to the urinary domain, Generalized Estimating Equation models showed score changes at five years of -12.0 (95% CI = -15.0, -9.0) in incontinence and -5.3 (95% CI = -7.5, -3.1) in irritative-obstructive scales. Compared to brachytherapy, radical prostatectomy fared +3.3 (95% CI = +0.0, +6.5) points better in irritative-obstructive but -17.1 (95% CI = -22.7, -11.5) worse in incontinence. Sexual deterioration was observed in radical prostatectomy (-19.1; 95% CI = -25.1, -13.1) and external radiotherapy groups (-7.5; 95% CI = -12.5, -2.5). Conclusions Brachytherapy is the treatment causing the least impact on QoL except for moderate urinary irritative-obstructive symptoms. Our study provides novel long-term valuable information for clinical decision making, supporting brachytherapy as a possible alternative to radical prostatectomy for patients seeking an attempted curative treatment, while limiting the risk for urinary incontinence and sexual impact on QoL. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-313
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


  • EPIC
  • External beam radiotherapy
  • Prostate brachytherapy
  • Quality of life
  • Radical prostatectomy


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