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Salvage High-Dose-Rate Brachytherapy for Recurrent Prostate Cancer After Definitive Radiation



Salvage high-dose-rate brachytherapy (sHDRBT) for locally recurrent prostate cancer after definitive radiation is associated with biochemical control in approximately half of patients at 3 to 5 years. Given potential toxicity, patient selection is critical. We present our institutional experience with sHDRBT and validate a recursive partitioning machines model for biochemical control.

Materials and methods

We performed a retrospective analysis of 129 patients who underwent whole-gland sHDRBT between 1998 and 2016. We evaluated clinical factors associated with biochemical control as well as toxicity.


At diagnosis the median prostate-specific antigen (PSA) was 7.77 ng/mL. A majority of patients had T1-2 (73%) and Gleason 6-7 (82%) disease; 71% received external beam radiation therapy (RT) alone, and 22% received permanent prostate implants. The median disease-free interval (DFI) was 56 months, and median presalvage PSA was 4.95 ng/mL. At sHDRBT, 46% had T3 disease and 51% had Gleason 8 to 10 disease. At a median of 68 months after sHDRBT, 3- and 5-year disease-free survival were 85% (95% CI, 79-91) and 71% (95% CI, 62-79), respectively. Median PSA nadir was 0.18 ng/mL, achieved a median of 10 months after sHDRBT. Patients with ≥35%+ cores and a DFI <4.1 years had worse biochemical control (19% vs 50%, P = .02). Local failure (with or without regional/distant failure) was seen in 11% of patients (14/129), and 14 patients (11%) developed acute urinary obstruction requiring Foley placement and 19 patients (15%) developed strictures requiring dilation.


sHDRBT is a reasonable option for patients with locally recurrent prostate cancer after definitive RT. Those with <35%+ cores or an initial DFI of ≥4.1 years may be more likely to achieve long-term disease control after sHDRBT.

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