Influence of 3D-CRT pelvic irradiation on outcome in prostate cancer treated with external beam radiotherapy

C. C. Pan, K. Y. Kim, J. M G Taylor, P. W. McLaughlin, H. M. Sandler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Purpose: The role of pelvic irradiation (PRT) in the treatment of prostate cancer remains unclear. We reviewed our institution's experience with three-dimensional conformal external beam radiotherapy (3D-CRT) during the prostate-specific antigen era to determine the influence of PRT on the risk of biochemical recurrence in patients who have a predicted risk of lymph node involvement. Methods and Materials: Between March 1985 and January 2001, 1832 patients with clinically localized prostate cancer were treated with definitive 3D-CRT. All treatments involved CT planning to ensure coverage of the intended targets. Treatment consisted of prostate-only treatment, prostate and seminal vesicle treatment, or PRT of lymph nodes at risk followed by a boost. To create relatively homogenous analysis groups, each patient's percentage of risk of lymph node (%rLN) involvement was assigned by matching the patient's T stage, Gleason score, and initial prostate-specific antigen level to the appropriate value as described in the updated Partin tables. Three categories of %rLN involvement were defined: low, 0-5%; intermediate, >5-15%; and high, >15%. Biochemical recurrence was defined as the first occurrence of either the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology consensus definition of prostate-specific antigen failure or the initiation of salvage hormonal therapy for any reason. Results: The risk status (%rLN) could be determined for 709 low-risk, 263 intermediate-risk, and 309 high-risk patients. The actuarial freedom from biochemical recurrence (bNED) and the log-rank test for the similarity of the control and treatment survival functions are reported for each risk group. Multivariate analysis demonstrated a statistically significant benefit for the entire population treated with PRT, with a relative risk reduction of 0.72 (95% confidence interval 0.54-0.97). Although the multivariate analysis could not determine the patient population that would most benefit from PRT, the beneficial effect appeared to be most pronounced within the intermediate-risk group. Univariate analysis revealed that the intermediate-risk patients treated with PRT had an improved 2-year bNED rate, 90.1% vs. 80.6% (p = 0.02), and both low-risk and high-risk patients treated with PRT had statistically similar 2-year bNED rates compared with those who did not receive it. Conclusion: Pelvic 3D-CRT appears to improve bNED in prostate cancer patients. Additional studies are needed to elucidate the %rLN population for which this treatment should be recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1139-1145
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2002


  • Gleason score
  • Pelvic irradiation
  • Prostate cancer
  • Prostate-specific antigen
  • Radiation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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