A randomized trial of external beam radiotherapy versus cryoablation in patients with localized prostate cancer : Quality of life outcomes
John W. Robinson, Bryan J. Donnelly, University of Calgary and Tom Baker Cancer Center, Calgary, Alberta
Cancer 2009; Volume 115 Issue 20, Pages 4695 - 4704

BACKGROUND:A recent randomized trial to compare external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) to cryoablation for localized disease showed cryoablation to be noninferior to external beam EBRT in disease progression and overall and disease-specific survival. We report on the quality of life (QOL) outcomes for this trial.

METHODS: From December 1997 through February 2003, 244 men with newly diagnosed localized prostate cancer were randomly assigned to cryoablation or EBRT (median dose 68 Gy). All patients received neoadjuvant antiandrogen therapy. Patients completed the EORTC QLQ C30 and the Prostate Cancer Index (PCI) before treatment and at 1.5, 3, 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months post-treatment.

RESULTS: Regardless of treatment arm, participants reported high levels of QOL with few exceptions. cryoablation was associated with more acute urinary dysfunction (mean PCI urinary function cryoablation = 69.4; mean EBRT = 90.7; P < .001), which resolved over time. No late arising QOL issues were observed. Both EBRT and cryoablation participants reported decreases in sexual function at 3 months with the cryoablation patients reporting poorer functioning (mean cryoablation = 7.2: mean EBRT = 32.9; P < .001). Mean sexual function score was 15 points lower at 3 years for the cryoablation group and 13% more of the cryoablation men said that sexuality was a moderate or big problem.

CONCLUSIONS:I n this randomized trial, no long-term QOL advantage for either treatment was apparent with the exception of poorer sexual function reported by those treated with cryoablation. Men who wish to increase their odds of retaining sexual function might be counseled to choose EBRT over cryoablation.