Brachytherapy After External Beam Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Li Liu, MD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
I would like to know whether there are patients in America who have had brachytherapy for prostate cancer after external radiation treatment. What are the statistics on this? My husband would be the first person in Australia to under go this therapy. His PSA has risen sharply in the past 2 years and his doctors want to use this treatment.  
Yours sincerely,

Li Liu, MD, OncoLink Editorial Assistant, responds:

Dear H C,
Thank you for your interest and question.

A study from 1980 reported 14 patients with biopsy proven locally recurrent prostate cancer 16 to 51 months after completion of external beam radiation therapy. Local tumor control was achieved in 11 of 14 (79%) patients, and 8 patients were free of disease at the time of their last follow-up.

A more recent study reported a 67% 5-year survival in 31 patients treated with gold seed implantation after local failure following external beam irradiation. Unfortunately there are no good statistics on this on this as the experience with this salvage therapy is limited. Other treatment options are radical prostatectomy, cryosurgery, and hormone therapy. I would encourage you and your husband to see a urologist and medical oncologist to explore all treatment options available in your area.