Primary causes of death after permanent prostate brachytherapy.

Research paper by Nathan N Bittner, Gregory S GS Merrick, Robert W RW Galbreath, Wayne M WM Butler, Kent E KE Wallner, Zachariah A ZA Allen, Sarah G SG Brammer, Mark M Moyad

Indexed on: 02 May '08Published on: 02 May '08Published in: International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics


To evaluate the primary causes of death in low-risk (low-risk), intermediate-risk (intermediate-risk), and high-risk (high-risk) patients undergoing permanent prostate brachytherapy with or without supplemental therapies.From April 1995 through November 2004, a total of 1,354 consecutive patients underwent prostate brachytherapy. All patients underwent brachytherapy >3 years before analysis. Of the patients, 532 (39.3%) received androgen deprivation therapy and 703 (51.9%) received supplemental radiation therapy. The median follow-up was 5.4 years. Multiple parameters were evaluated as predictors of cause-specific, biochemical progression-free, and overall survival.The 10-year cause-specific survival was 97.0% (99.7%, 99.0%, and 90.1% for low-risk, intermediate-risk, and high-risk patients). Overall survival was 76.7% (82.5%, 78.3%, and 67.6% for low-, intermediate-, and high-risk patients, respectively). The cumulative death rate for cardiovascular disease was 11.5% (8.7%, 9.3%, and 19.8% for low-, intermediate-, and high-risk patients). The death rate from second malignancies (nonprostate cancer) was 7.2% and was not substantially different when stratified by risk group. Death from all other causes was 6.5% for the entire cohort but 1.3%, 5.0%, and 10.8% for low-, intermediate-, and high-risk patients. In multivariate analysis, death from prostate cancer was best predicted by Gleason score and risk group, whereas death from cardiovascular disease, nonprostate cancer, and all other causes were most closely related to patient age and tobacco use.Although cardiovascular mortality was the predominant cause of death, prostate cancer was responsible for approximately 10% of all deaths. In particular, overall survival was poorest in the high-risk group. Although high-risk patients were most likely to die of prostate cancer, the divergence in overall survival between high-risk and lower-risk patients primarily resulted from an excess of cardiovascular deaths. Changes in lifestyle to improve cardiovascular health may improve overall survival in patients with clinically localized prostate cancer.