, Volume 139, Issue 1, pp 147-157
Date: 18 Sep 2012

Adjuvant and salvage radiotherapy after prostatectomy: outcome analysis of 307 patients with prostate cancer

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In men with adverse pathology after radical prostatectomy, the most appropriate timing to administer radiotherapy (RT) remains a topic of debate. We analyzed in terms of efficacy, prognostic factors and toxicity the two therapeutic strategies: immediate postoperative radiotherapy (PORT) and salvage radiotherapy (SART).

Materials and methods

Between January 1995 and November 2010, 307 patients underwent adjuvant or salvage radiotherapy, after prostatectomy.


In the PORT group, 42 patients (20.7 %) had biochemical failure, with a median time to biochemical failure of 1.8 years; two parameters (age at diagnosis and PSA pre-RT) resulted to be significant at the survival analysis for overall survival (p = 0.003 and p = 0.046, respectively). In the SART group, 33 patients (31.7 %) had biochemical relapse; sixteen patients died of prostate cancer; postoperative hormones therapy, conformal radiotherapy and level of PSA pre-RT >1.0 ng/ml resulted to be significant at the survival analysis, p = 0.009, p = 0.039 and p = 0.002, respectively.


Our study is limited by its retrospective and nonrandomized design. As such, decisions to treat with adjuvant or salvage radiotherapy and the time to initiate therapy were based on patient preference and physician counseling. Our recommendation is to suggest adjuvant radiotherapy for all patients with adverse prognostic factors and to reserve salvage radiotherapy for low-risk patients, when the biochemical recurrence occurs.