, Volume 11, Issue 7, pp 470-478
Date: 15 Jul 2009

Quality of life two years after radical prostatectomy, prostate brachytherapy or external beam radiotherapy for clinically localised prostate cancer: the Catalan Institute of Oncology/Bellvitge Hospital experience

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The objective was to compare the short- and long-term impact of 3 different treatment modalities on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in patients treated for localised prostate cancer at a single centre in Catalonia, Spain.

Material and methods

This was a longitudinal, prospective study of 304 patients from a single centre in Catalonia, Spain. Patients underwent 1 of 3 treatment procedures: radical prostatectomy (114 patients), external beam radiation (134) or interstitial brachytherapy (56). HRQOL was assessed by both general and specific questionnaires, including the SF-36 health survey and the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite (EPIC). Interviews were administered prior to treatment and at months 1, 3, 6, 12 and 24. One-way analysis of variance and generalised estimating equations models were constructed to assess between-group differences in HRQOL.


After initial deterioration, HRQOL scores partially recovered, although significant differences between treatment groups persisted at two years. Worsening of urinary incontinence was especially marked for the radical prostatectomy group (11.45, p=0.005), while deterioration in the urinary irritative/obstructive domain was worse following brachytherapy treatment (4.76, p=0.025). Decline in sexual function was significantly greater for the radical prostatectomy group than for the brachytherapy group (18.74, p<0.001). No significant between-group differences were observed in bowel domain scores.


Quality of life 2 years after treatment for prostate cancer shows wide variability. Radical prostatectomy had the largest negative impact on the sexual and urinary incontinence domains. Differences between external radiation and brachytherapy were relatively small. Brachytherapy led to a moderate increase in urinary irritation compared to the other 2 groups.