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1.  Brachytherapy for cervix cancer: low-dose rate or high-dose rate brachytherapy – a meta-analysis of clinical trials 
The literature supporting high-dose rate brachytherapy (HDR) in the treatment of cervical carcinoma derives primarily from retrospective series. However, controversy still persists regarding the efficacy and safety of HDR brachytherapy compared to low-dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy, in particular, due to inadequate tumor coverage for stage III patients. Whether LDR or HDR brachytherapy produces better results for these patients in terms of survival rate, local control rate and the treatment complications remain controversial.
A meta-analysis of RCT was performed comparing LDR to HDR brachytherapy for cervix cancer treated for radiotherapy alone. The MEDLINE, EMBASE, CANCERLIT and Cochrane Library databases, as well as abstracts published in the annual proceedings were systematically searched. We assessed methodological quality for each outcome by grading the quality of evidence using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology. We used "recommend" for strong recommendations, and "suggest" for weak recommendations.
Pooled results from five randomized trials (2,065 patients) of HDR brachytherapy in cervix cancer showed no significant increase of mortality (p = 0.52), local recurrence (p = 0.68), or late complications (rectal; p = 0.7, bladder; p = 0.95 or small intestine; p = 0.06) rates as compared to LDR brachytherapy. In the subgroup analysis no difference was observed for overall mortality and local recurrence in patients with clinical stages I, II and III. The quality of evidence was low for mortality and local recurrence in patients with clinical stage I, and moderate for other clinical stages.
Our meta-analysis shows that there are no differences between HDR and LDR for overall survival, local recurrence and late complications for clinical stages I, II and III. By means of the GRADE system, we recommend the use of HDR for all clinical stages of cervix cancer.
PMCID: PMC2673206  PMID: 19344527
2.  High Dose Rate versus Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy for Oral Cancer – A Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65423.
To compare the efficacy and safety of high dose rate (HDR) and low dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy in treating early-stage oral cancer.
Data Sources
A systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Library databases, restricted to English language up to June 1, 2012, was performed to identify potentially relevant studies.
Study Selection
Only randomized controlled trials (RCT) and controlled trials that compared HDR to LDR brachytherapy in treatment of early-stage oral cancer (stages I, II and III) were of interest.
Data Extraction and Synthesis
Two investigators independently extracted data from retrieved studies and controversies were solved by discussion. Meta-analysis was performed using RevMan 5.1. One RCT and five controlled trials (607 patients: 447 for LDR and 160 for HDR) met the inclusion criteria. The odds ratio showed no statistically significant difference between LDR group and HDR group in terms of local recurrence (OR = 1.12, CI 95% 0.62–2.01), overall mortality (OR = 1.01, CI 95% 0.61–1.66) and Grade 3/4 complications (OR = 0.86, CI 95% 0.52–1.42).
This meta-analysis indicated that HDR brachytherapy was a comparable alternative to LDR brachytherapy in treatment of oral cancer. HDR brachytherapy might become a routine choice for early-stage oral cancer in the future.
PMCID: PMC3677879  PMID: 23762369
3.  Minimal percentage of dose received by 90% of the urethra (%UD90) is the most significant predictor of PSA bounce in patients who underwent low-dose-rate brachytherapy (LDR-brachytherapy) for prostate cancer 
BMC Urology  2012;12:28.
To clarify the significant clinicopathological and postdosimetric parameters to predict PSA bounce in patients who underwent low-dose-rate brachytherapy (LDR-brachytherapy) for prostate cancer.
We studied 200 consecutive patients who received LDR-brachytherapy between July 2004 and November 2008. Of them, 137 patients did not receive neoadjuvant or adjuvant androgen deprivation therapy. One hundred and forty-two patients were treated with LDR-brachytherapy alone, and 58 were treated with LDR-brachytherapy in combination with external beam radiation therapy. The cut-off value of PSA bounce was 0.1 ng/mL. The incidence, time, height, and duration of PSA bounce were investigated. Clinicopathological and postdosimetric parameters were evaluated to elucidate independent factors to predict PSA bounce in hormone-naïve patients who underwent LDR-brachytherapy alone.
Fifty patients (25%) showed PSA bounce and 10 patients (5%) showed PSA failure. The median time, height, and duration of PSA bounce were 17 months, 0.29 ng/mL, and 7.0 months, respectively. In 103 hormone-naïve patients treated with LDR-brachytherapy alone, and univariate Cox proportional regression hazard model indicated that age and minimal percentage of the dose received by 30% and 90% of the urethra were independent predictors of PSA bounce. With a multivariate Cox proportional regression hazard model, minimal percentage of the dose received by 90% of the urethra was the most significant parameter of PSA bounce.
Minimal percentage of the dose received by 90% of the urethra was the most significant predictor of PSA bounce in hormone-naïve patients treated with LDR-brachytherapy alone.
PMCID: PMC3487947  PMID: 22974428
Prostate cancer; Brachytherapy; PSA bounce; Post-dosimetry; UD90 (%)
4.  Low-Dose-Rate Definitive Brachytherapy for High-Grade Vaginal Intraepithelial Neoplasia 
The Oncologist  2011;16(2):182-188.
The efficacy and safety results of treatment with low-dose-rate vaginal brachytherapy for grade 3 vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia over a 25-year period at Gustave Roussy Institute are presented. This treatment was found to be both safe and effective.
Learning Objectives
After completing this course, the reader will be able to: Utilize data supporting the efficacy of low-dose definitive brachytherapy to inform clinical decisions about treating women with high-grade vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia.Implement methods for delivering low-dose definitive brachytherapy that minimize toxicity.Communicate to patients the type and incidence of toxic events associated with low-dose definitive brachytherapy.
This article is available for continuing medical education credit at
Treatment of high-grade vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VAIN) is controversial and could include surgical excision, topical medication, brachytherapy, or other treatments. We report the results of low-dose-rate (LDR) vaginal brachytherapy for grade 3 VAIN (VAIN-3) over a 25-year period at Gustave Roussy Institute.
Patients and Methods.
We retrospectively reviewed the files of all patients treated at Gustave Roussy Institute for VAIN-3 since 1985. The treatment consisted of LDR brachytherapy using a personalized vaginal mold and delivered 60 Gy to 5 mm below the vaginal mucosa. All patients had at least an annual gynecological examination, including a vaginal smear.
Twenty-eight patients were eligible. The median follow-up was 41 months. Seven patients had a follow-up <2 years, and the median follow-up for the remaining 21 patients was 79 months. The median age at brachytherapy was 63 years (range, 38–80 years). Twenty-six patients had a history of VAIN recurring after cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and 24 had a previous hysterectomy. The median brachytherapy duration was 4.5 days. Median doses to the International Commission of Radiation Units and Measurements rectum and bladder points were 68 Gy and 45 Gy, respectively. The median prescription volume (60 Gy) was 74 cm3. Only one “in field” recurrence occurred, corresponding to a 5- and 10-year local control rate of 93% (95% confidence interval, 70%–99%). The treatment was well tolerated, with no grade 3 or 4 late toxicity and only one grade 2 digestive toxicity. No second cancers were reported.
LDR brachytherapy is an effective and safe treatment for vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia.
PMCID: PMC3228085  PMID: 21262875
Vaginal neoplasms; Carcinoma in situ; Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia; Brachytherapy
5.  Impact of point A asymmetry on local control and survival for low dose-rate (LDR) brachytherapy in cervical cancer 
To evaluate whether Point A asymmetry in low dose-rate (LDR) brachytherapy is associated with local control (LC), disease-free survival (DFS) and/or overall survival (OS).
Material and methods
A retrospective analysis of disease control and survival outcomes was conducted for patients who underwent LDR brachytherapy for advanced cervical cancer. Institutional protocol entailed concurrent chemotherapy and whole pelvis radiotherapy (WPRT) over 5 weeks, followed by placement of Fletcher-Suit tandem and colpostat applicators at weeks 6 and 8. Objective Point A doses, 80-85 Gy, were accomplished by placement of Cesium-137 (Cs-137) sources. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to assess associations between disease control and survival endpoints with variables of interest.
The records of 50 patients with FIGO stage IB1-IVA cervical cancer undergoing LDR brachytherapy at our institution were identified. Thirty of these patients had asymmetry > 2.5%, and 11 patients had asymmetry > 5%. At a median survivor follow-up of 20.25 months, 15 patients had experienced disease failure (including 5 cervical/vaginal apex only failures and 2 failures encompassing the local site). Right/left dose asymmetry at Point A was associated with statistically significantly inferior LC (p = 0.035) and inferior DFS (p = 0.011) for patients with mean Point A dose of > 80 Gy. Insufficient evidence existed to conclude an association with OS.
LDR brachytherapy may be associated with clinically significant dose asymmetry. The present study demonstrates that patients with Point A asymmetry have a higher risk of failure for DFS and LC.
PMCID: PMC3551371  PMID: 23346133
brachytherapy; cervical; point A; Fletcher-Suit system
6.  Biological equivalence between LDR and PDR in cervical cancer: multifactor analysis using the linear-quadratic model 
The purpose of this work was the biological comparison between Low Dose Rate (LDR) and Pulsed Dose Rate (PDR) in cervical cancer regarding the discontinuation of the afterloading system used for the LDR treatments at our Institution since December 2009.
Material and methods
In the first phase we studied the influence of the pulse dose and the pulse time in the biological equivalence between LDR and PDR treatments using the Linear Quadratic Model (LQM). In the second phase, the equivalent dose in 2 Gy/fraction (EQD2) for the tumor, rectum and bladder in treatments performed with both techniques was evaluated and statistically compared. All evaluated patients had stage IIB cervical cancer and were treated with External Beam Radiotherapy (EBRT) plus two Brachytherapy (BT) applications. Data were collected from 48 patients (26 patients treated with LDR and 22 patients with PDR).
In the analyses of the influence of PDR parameters in the biological equivalence between LDR and PDR treatments (Phase 1), it was calculated that if the pulse dose in PDR was kept equal to the LDR dose rate, a small the-rapeutic loss was expected. If the pulse dose was decreased, the therapeutic window became larger, but a correction in the prescribed dose was necessary. In PDR schemes with 1 hour interval between pulses, the pulse time did not influence significantly the equivalent dose. In the comparison between the groups treated with LDR and PDR (Phase 2) we concluded that they were not equivalent, because in the PDR group the total EQD2 for the tumor, rectum and bladder was smaller than in the LDR group; the LQM estimated that a correction in the prescribed dose of 6% to 10% was ne-cessary to avoid therapeutic loss.
A correction in the prescribed dose was necessary; this correction should be achieved by calculating the PDR dose equivalent to the desired LDR total dose.
PMCID: PMC3551353  PMID: 23346123
brachytherapy; cervical cancer; LDR; PDR; EQD2; LQM
7.  Comorbidity, human papillomavirus infection and head and neck cancer survival in an ethnically diverse population 
Oral oncology  2013;49(9):911-917.
To demonstrate the importance of comorbid conditions in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), we assessed the association between comorbidity and survival in an inner-city population of HNSCC patients.
Patients and Methods
Comorbid status at diagnosis was derived using medical records and the Adult Comorbidity Evaluation-27 (ACE-27) index on 288 patients with histologically confirmed HNSCC from Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx (NY) between 2002 and 2011. The association between comorbidity, tumor human papillomavirus (HPV) status and overall and disease specific survival was assessed by Kaplan-Meier analysis and multivariable Cox regression adjusting for clinico-pathologic factors.
The study population consisted of primary oropharyngeal (36%), laryngeal (33%) and oral cavity cancer patients (31%). Overall, 19% had no comorbidity, 43% mild comorbidity, 29% moderate comorbidity, and 9% severe comorbidity. The most common comorbid conditions were hypertension, diabetes mellitus, respiratory disease, other malignancies, and illicit drug use. Survival analyses revealed that increased comorbidity at diagnosis was significantly related to poorer overall survival (p=0.016), but not to cancer survival (p=0.369) or recurrence (p=0.652). Oropharyngeal cancer patients with HPV DNA positive tumors and lower levels of comorbidity had significantly better overall survival compared to patients with HPV negative tumors (hazard ratio = 0.2, 95%CI: 0.04–0.8), however there was no significant difference in overall (or disease specific) survival by HPV status among patients with higher levels of comorbidity at diagnosis (hazard ratio = 0.7, 95%CI: 0.2–2.8).
In an inner-city predominantly minority population, comorbidity at HNSCC diagnosis is relatively common and associated with poor overall survival, but not cancer survival or recurrence. Interestingly, the relationship between HPV and improved survival appears to be specific to patients with low comorbidity at diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3759225  PMID: 23891528
ACE-27; comorbidity; head and neck; oropharyngeal; squamous cell carcinoma; survival; human papillomavirus
8.  A Phase II Trial of Brachytherapy Alone Following Lumpectomy for Select Breast Cancer: tumor control and survival outcomes of RTOG 95-17 
RTOG 95-17 is a prospective Phase II cooperative group trial of APBI alone using multicatheter brachytherapy following lumpectomy in select early stage breast cancers. Tumor control and survival outcomes are reported.
Materials and Methods:
Eligibility criteria included stage I/II breast carcinoma confirmed to be <3cm, unifocal, invasive non-lobular histology with 0-3 positive axillary nodes without extracapsular extension. APBI treatment was delivered with either Low Dose Rate (LDR) (45 Gy in 3.5-5 days) or High Dose Rate (HDR) (34 Gy in 10 BID fractions over 5 days). Endpoints evaluated included in-breast control, regional control, mastectomy-free rate, mastectomy-free survival, disease-free survival and overall survival. The study was designed to analyze the HDR and LDR groups separately and without comparison.
Between 1997 and 2000, 100 patients were accrued and 99 were eligible; 66 treated with HDR and 33 treated with LDR. Eighty seven patients had T1 lesions and 12 had T2 lesions. Seventy nine were pathologically N0 and 20 were N1. Median follow-up in the HDR group is 6.14 years with the 5-year estimates of in-breast, regional and contralateral failure rates of 3%, 5% and 2%, respectively. The LDR group experienced similar results with a median follow-up of 6.22 years. The 5-year estimates of in-breast, regional and contralateral failure rates of 6%, 0% and 6%, respectively.
Patients treated with multicatheter partial breast brachytherapy on this trial experienced excellent in-breast control rates and overall outcome that compare to reports from APBI studies with similar extended follow-up.
PMCID: PMC2604132  PMID: 18294778
Brachytherapy; breast cancer; breast cancer trials; radiation therapy for breast cancer; accelerated partial breast irradiation
9.  The impact of comorbidity and stage on ovarian cancer mortality: A nationwide Danish cohort study 
BMC Cancer  2008;8:31.
The incidence of ovarian cancer increases sharply with age, and many elderly patients have coexisting diseases. If patients with comorbidities are diagnosed with advanced stages, this would explain the poor survival observed among ovarian cancer patients with severe comorbidity. Our aims were to examine the prevalence of comorbidity according to stage of cancer at diagnosis, to estimate the impact of comorbidity on survival, and to examine whether the impact of comorbidity on survival varies by stage.
From the Danish Cancer Registry we identified 5,213 patients (> 15 years old) with ovarian cancer diagnosed from 1995 to 2003. We obtained information on comorbidities from the Danish National Hospital Discharge Registry. Vital status was determined through linkage to the Civil Registration System. We estimated the prevalence of comorbidity by stage and computed absolute survival and relative mortality rate ratios (MRRs) by comorbidity level (Charlson Index score 0, 1–2, 3+), using patients with Charlson Index score 0 as the reference group. We then stratified by stage and computed the absolute survival and MRRs according to comorbidity level, using patients with Charlson score 0 and localized tumour/FIGO I as the reference group. We adjusted for age and calendar time.
Comorbidity was more common among patients with an advanced stage of cancer. One- and five-year survival was higher in patients without comorbidity than in patients with registered comorbidity. After adjustment for age and calendar time, one-year MRRs declined from 1.8 to 1.4 and from 2.7 to 2.0, for patients with Charlson scores 1–2 and 3+, respectively. After adjustment for stage, the MRRs further declined to 1.3 and 1.8, respectively. Five-year MRRs declined similarly after adjustment for age, calendar time, and stage. The impact of severe comorbidity on mortality varied by stage, particularly among patients with tumours with regional spread/FIGO-stages II and III.
The presence of severe comorbidity was associated with an advanced stage of ovarian cancer. Mortality was higher among patients with comorbidities and the impact of comorbidity varied by stage.
PMCID: PMC2266760  PMID: 18230177
10.  Age is not a limiting factor for brachytherapy for carcinoma of the node negative oral tongue in patients aged eighty or older 
To examine the role of brachytherapy for aged patients 80 or more in the trend of rapidly increasing number.
We examined the outcomes for elderly patients with node negative oral tongue cancer (T1-3N0M0) treated with brachytherapy. The 21 patients (2 T1, 14 T2, and 5 T3 cases) ranged in age from 80 to 89 years (median 81), and their cancer was pathologically confirmed. All patients underwent definitive radiation therapy, with low dose rate (LDR) Ra-226 brachytherapy (n = 4; median 70Gy), with Ir-192 (n = 12; 70Gy), with Au-198 (n = 1) or with high dose rate (HDR) Ir-192 brachytherapy (n = 4; 60 Gy). Eight patients also underwent external radiotherapy (median 30 Gy). The period of observation ranged from 13 months to 14 years (median 2.5 years). We selected 226 population matched younger counterpart from our medical chart.
Definitive radiation therapy was completed for all 21 patients (100%), and acute grade 2-3 mucositis related to the therapy was tolerable. Local control (initial complete response) was attained in 19 of 21 patients (90%). The 2-year and 5-year local control rates were 91%, (100% for T1, 83% for T2 and 80% for T3 tumors after 2 years). These figures was not inferior to that of younger counterpart (82% at 5-year, n.s.). The cause-specific survival rate was 83% and the regional control rate 84% at the 2-years follow-up. However, 12 patients died because of intercurrent diseases or senility, resulting in overall survival rates of 55% at 2 years and 34% at 5 years.
Age is not a limiting factor for brachytherapy for appropriately selected elderly patients, and brachytherapy achieved good local control with acceptable morbidity.
PMCID: PMC3016284  PMID: 21143904
11.  Salvage brachytherapy in prostate local recurrence after radiation therapy: predicting factors for control and toxicity 
To evaluate efficacy and toxicity after salvage brachytherapy (BT) in prostate local recurrence after radiation therapy.
Methods and materials
Between 1993 and 2007, we retrospectively analyzed 56 consecutively patients (pts) undergoing salvage brachytherapy. After local biopsy-proven recurrence, pts received 145 Gy LDR-BT (37 pts, 66%) or HDR-BT (19 pts, 34%) in different dose levels according to biological equivalent doses (BED2 Gy). By the time of salvage BT, only 15 pts (27%) received ADT. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to identify predictors of biochemical control and toxicities. Acute and late genitourinary (GU) and gastrointestinal (GI) toxicities were graded using Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCv3.0).
Median follow-up after salvage BT was 48 months. The 5-year FFbF was 77%. HDR and LDR late grade 3 GU toxicities were observed in 21% and 24%. Late grade 3 GI toxicities were observed in 2% (HDR) and 2.7% (LDR). On univariate analysis, pre-salvage prostate-specific antigen (PSA) > 10 ng/ml (p = 0.004), interval to relapse after initial treatment < 24 months (p = 0.004) and salvage HDR-BT doses BED2 Gy level < 227 Gy (p = 0.012) were significant in predicting biochemical failure. On Cox multivariate analysis, pre-salvage PSA, and time to relapse were significant in predicting biochemical failure.
HDR-BT BED2 Gy (α/β 1.5 Gy) levels ≥ 227 (p = 0.013), and ADT (p = 0.049) were significant in predicting grade ≥ 2 urinary toxicity.
Prostate BT is an effective salvage modality in some selected prostate local recurrence patients after radiation therapy. Even, we provide some potential predictors of biochemical control and toxicity for prostate salvage BT, further investigation is recommended.
PMCID: PMC4019368  PMID: 24885287
Salvage brachytherapy; Prostate cancer; High-dose-rate-brachytherapy; Low-dose-rate-brachytherapy; Androgen deprivation therapy
12.  Outcomes of Gleason Score ≤8 among High Risk Prostate Cancer Treated with 125I Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy Based Multimodal Therapy 
Yonsei Medical Journal  2013;54(5):1207-1213.
To investigate the role of low dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy-based multimodal therapy in high-risk prostate cancer (PCa) and analyze its optimal indications.
Materials and Methods
We reviewed the records of 50 high-risk PCa patients [clinical stage ≥T2c, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) >20 ng/mL, or biopsy Gleason score ≥8] who had undergone 125I LDR brachytherapy since April 2007. We excluded those with a follow-up period <3 years. Biochemical recurrence (BCR) followed the Phoenix definition. BCR-free survival rates were compared between the patients with Gleason score ≥9 and Gleason score ≤8.
The mean initial PSA was 22.1 ng/mL, and mean D90 was 244.3 Gy. During a median follow-up of 39.2 months, biochemical control was obtained in 72% (36/50) of the total patients; The estimated 3-year BCR-free survival was 92% for the patients with biopsy Gleason scores ≤8, and 40% for those with Gleason scores ≥9 (p<0.001). In Cox multivariate analysis, only Gleason score ≥9 was observed to be significantly associated with BCR (p=0.021). Acute and late grade ≥3 toxicities were observed in 20% (10/50) and 36% (18/50) patients, respectively.
Our results showed that 125I LDR brachytherapy-based multimodal therapy in high-risk PCa produced encouraging relatively long-term results among the Asian population, especially in patients with Gleason score ≤8. Despite small number of subjects, biopsy Gleason score ≥9 was a significant predictor of BCR among high risk PCa patients after brachytherapy.
PMCID: PMC3743192  PMID: 23918571
Prostate cancer; brachytherapy; high risk group; biochemical recurrence
13.  Sigmoid Dose Using 3D Imaging in Cervical-Cancer Brachytherapy 
Background and Purpose
To evaluate the proximity, variance, predictors of dose, and complications to the sigmoid in cervical-cancer brachytherapy using 3D planning.
Materials and Methods
Over 36 months, 50 patients were treated for cervical cancer with either low-dose-rate (LDR) or high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy. The distance from the central tandem to the sigmoid, the D0.1cc and the D2cc to the sigmoid, rectum and bladder doses, and toxicity were analyzed.
The median sigmoid EQD2 D0.1cc and D2cc were 84 Gy and 68.3 Gy for HDR versus 71.1 Gy and 65.9 Gy for LDR (p=0.02 and 0.98, respectively). Twenty percent of the HDR fractions required manipulation of the superior dwell positions to decrease the sigmoid dose. The median distance from the sigmoid to the tandem was 1.7 cm (range [rg], 0.1 – 6.16 cm) for HDR and 2.7 cm (rg, 1.17 – 4.52 cm) for LDR; from the sigmoid to the 100% isodose region the median distances were – 0.1 cm (rg, -1.4 – 2.5 cm) and 0.44 cm (rg. -0.73 – 5.2 cm), respectively. The proximity of the sigmoid to the tandem is significantly related to sigmoid dose (p<0.0001). Within-patient (among-fraction) variation in sigmoid-to-tandem distance during HDR was substantial (coefficient of variation = 40%). No grade 3-4 sigmoid toxicity was seen after a median 31-month follow-up period.
3D imaging in cervical cancer brachytherapy shows the sigmoid in close proximity to the tandem. The sigmoid to tandem distance varies substantially between fractions, indicating the importance of sigmoid dose-volume evaluation with each fraction.
PMCID: PMC2867463  PMID: 19665244
cervical cancer; brachytherapy; normal tissue dose
14.  Long term results of HDR brachytherapy in men older than 75 with localized carcinoma of the prostate 
Prostate cancer is an illness with a high incidence, especially among older men. The choice of a treatment option among men above 75 years is, however, not clear. Radical prostatectomy in this age group is connected with a relatively high morbidity. A further possibility of curative treatment is radiotherapy which can be administered in the form of external beam or in combination with high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy.
The aim of our work was to evaluate how HDR brachytherapy is tolerated among men older than 75 and how associated diseases can influence the tolerance to this treatment. Of interest to us were the treatment results and mortality from other diseases.
Materials and methods
We analyzed a sample of 20 men above 75 years old (median 77 years) who were undergoing treatment by a combination of external radiotherapy and brachytherapy. Sixteen (80%) of them had prostate cancer with an intermediate and high risk of recurrence, four had low risk prostate cancer. Most patients, 14 (70%), had less than two comorbidities.
The median observation period was 57 months. No perioperative complications were recorded. Acute genitourinary toxicity (GU) to a maximum grade of 1–2 manifested in 60% of cases. Acute gastrointestinal toxicity (GIT) was observed only at grade 1 and in 25% of cases. Late GU toxicity occurred in 35% of patients, with only one showing grade 3; late GIT toxicity was recorded at grade 1 only in 3 patients (15%). 70% of the men lived longer than 3 years after treatment, at present, 50% lived more than 5 years. Long-term biochemical remission was achieved in 18 patients (90%).
HDR BRT is possible and well-tolerated in older men above 75 years in good condition and without serious intercurrence.
Well-selected older patients with higher-risk tumours and without serious comorbidities undoubtedly benefit from radical treatment when compared with watchful waiting.
PMCID: PMC3863282  PMID: 24381742
Localized prostate cancer; High dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy; Older man
15.  Evidence-based guideline recommendations on low-dose rate brachytherapy in patients with low- or intermediate-risk prostate cancer 
The Genitourinary Cancer Disease Site Group (GU DSG) and Cancer Care Ontario’s Program in Evidence-Based Care (PEBC) in Ontario, Canada developed a guideline on low-dose rate brachytherapy (LDR-BT) in patients with early-stage low-grade prostate cancer in 2001. The current updated guideline focuses on the research questions regarding the effect of LDR-BT alone, the effect of LDR-BT with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and the selection of an isotope.
This guideline was developed by using the methods of the Practice Guidelines Development Cycle and the core methodology was a systematic review. MEDLINE and EMBASE (from January 1996 to October 2011), the Cochrane Library, main guideline websites, and main annual meeting abstract websites specific for genitourinary diseases were searched. Internal and external reviews of the draft guideline were conducted.
The draft guideline was developed according to a total of 10 systematic reviews and 55 full text articles that met the pre-planned study selection criteria. The quality of evidence was low to moderate. The final report reflects integration of the feedback obtained through the internal review (two oncologists and a methodologist) and external review (five target reviewers and 48 professional consultation reviewers) process, with final approval given by the GU DSG and the PEBC.
The main recommendations are: (1) For patients with newly diagnosed low-risk or intermediate-risk prostate cancer who require or choose active treatment, LDR-BT alone is a treatment option as an alternative to EBRT alone or RP alone; and (2) I-125 and Pd-103 are each reasonable isotope options.
PMCID: PMC3699088  PMID: 23826053
Urology  2008;72(2):359-363.
While the classification of cancer has traditionally focused on gross and microscopic characteristics of the tumor, overall health of a patient can impact survival. Since patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) often have other medical conditions, we explored the impact of preexisting medical disease on survival following radical and partial nephrectomy.
Between January 1995 and August 2003, comorbidity status of 697 nonmetastatic RCC patients who underwent radical or partial nephrectomy was prospectively coded using the Adult Comorbidity Evaluation-27. Histopathologic review of all slides was performed according to the 2004 World Health Organization scheme. Other variables analyzed include age, gender, ethnicity, pathologic stage, Fuhrman grade, and tumor size. The effect of these factors on overall survival (OS) was analyzed using Cox Proportional Hazards Regression.
The median follow-up was 32.2 months for survivors and 36.5 months for all patients. OS rate at 1, 3, and 5 years was 92.0% (641 patients), 75.3% (525 patients) and 52.7% (367 patients). Univariate analyses demonstrated that age, comorbidity, tumor size, Fuhrman grade, and pathologic stage were significant predictors of OS. Multivariate analysis revealed that age (HR 1.42, 95% CI 1.10–1.82, p=0.0067), comorbidity (HR 1.37, 95% CI 1.16–1.63, p=0.0002), pathologic stage (HR 1.97, 95% CI 1.60–2.41, p<0.0001) and grade (HR 1.83, 95% CI 1.28–2.59, p=0.0008) predicted OS.
This study demonstrates that comorbidity is an independent prognostic factor for OS in RCC patients. Capturing comorbidity information using validated instruments can improve the preoperative evaluation of patients by providing more accurate prognostic information.
PMCID: PMC2570477  PMID: 18468663
17.  The impact of cardiovascular comorbidities on the outcome of surgery for non-small-cell lung cancer 
The presence of cardiovascular comorbidity in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients increases with age. Therefore, the influence of cardiovascular comorbidity in NSCLC patients on their short- or long-term prognosis remains controversial. This study evaluated the possible risk factors related to the short-term and long-term survivals in NSCLC patients with cardiovascular comorbidity.
One thousand one hundred and sixty-two consecutive patients with NSCLC who had undergone a surgical resection between 1984 and 2010 were enrolled in this study. A total of 360 (31%) patients with cardiovascular comorbidities were analysed to identify the risk factors for postoperative complications and prognostic factors.
The patients with cardiovascular comorbidity included 301 with hypertension, 28 with coronary artery disease, 35 with peripheral vascular disease, 23 with arrhythmia and 11 with abdominal aortic aneurysm. Eighty-three patients exhibited more than one type of comorbidity. The postoperative cardiovascular morbidity rates were 3.6% in the cardiovascular comorbidity patients and 3.3% among patients without cardiovascular comorbidity (P = 0.73). No correlation was observed between preoperative cardiovascular comorbidity and postoperative pulmonary complications (P = 0.52). The operative mortality rates were 1.0% for the cardiovascular comorbidity patients and 0.8% for the other patients (P = 0.51). No difference in the postoperative outcomes was observed between the patients with and without cardiovascular comorbidity. The 5-year survival rates were 62.5% in comparison with 65.4% among patients without cardiovascular comorbidity (P = 0.48).
Patients with cardiovascular comorbidity were not found to be at increased risk of mortality and morbidity following surgery for NSCLC. In addition, cardiovascular comorbidity did not influence the long-term outcomes of patients after a pulmonary resection for NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC3568808  PMID: 23223675
Non-small-cell lung cancer; Surgery; Cardiovascular comorbidity; Survival
18.  Low-dose-rate or high-dose-rate brachytherapy in treatment of prostate cancer – between options 
Permanent low-dose-rate (LDR-BT) and temporary high-dose-rate (HDR-BT) brachytherapy are competitive techniques for clinically localized prostate radiotherapy. Although a randomized trial will likely never to be conducted comparing these two forms of brachytherapy, a comparative analysis proves useful in understanding some of their intrinsic differences, several of which could be exploited to improve outcomes. The aim of this paper is to look for possible similarities and differences between both brachytherapy modalities. Indications and contraindications for monotherapy and for brachytherapy as a boost to external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) are presented. It is suggested that each of these techniques has attributes that advocates for one or the other. First, they represent the extreme ends of the spectrum with respect to dose rate and fractionation, and therefore have inherently different radiobiological properties. Low-dose-rate brachytherapy has the great advantage of being practically a one-time procedure, and enjoys a long-term follow-up database supporting its excellent outcomes and low morbidity. Low-dose-rate brachytherapy has been a gold standard for prostate brachytherapy in low risk patients since many years. On the other hand, HDR is a fairly invasive procedure requiring several sessions associated with a brief hospital stay. Although lacking in significant long-term data, it possesses the technical advantage of control over its postimplant dosimetry (by modulating the source dwell time and position), which is absent in LDR brachytherapy. This important difference in dosimetric control allows HDR doses to be escalated safely, a flexibility that does not exist for LDR brachytherapy.
Radiobiological models support the current clinical evidence for equivalent outcomes in localized prostate cancer with either LDR or HDR brachytherapy, using current dose regimens. At present, all available clinical data regarding these two techniques suggests that they are equally effective, stage for stage, in providing high tumor control rates.
PMCID: PMC3635047  PMID: 23634153
brachytherapy; HDR; LDR; prostate cancer; seeds
19.  High-risk surgical stage 1 endometrial cancer: analysis of treatment outcome 
To report the relapse and survival rates associated to treatment for patients with stage IC, grade 2 or grade 3 and IB grade 3 diseases considered high risk patients group for relapse.
Materials and methods
From January 1993 to December 2003, 106 patients with endometrial cancer stage I were managed surgically in our institution. Based on data from the medical records, 106 patients with epithelial endometrial cancer met the following inclusion criteria: stage IC grade 2 or 3 and IB grade 3 with or without lymphovascular invasion. Staging was defined according to the FIGO surgical staging system. Postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy consisted of external beam pelvic radiation, vaginal brachytherapy alone or both. The median age was 65 years (range, 32–83 years), lymph node dissection was performed in 45 patients (42.5%) and 14 patients (13.2%) received vaginal brachytherapy only, and 92 (86.8%) received combined vaginal brachytherapy and external beam radiotherapy. The median dose of external beam radiotherapy administered to the pelvis was 4500 cGy (range 4000 – 5040). The median dose to vaginal surface was 2400 cGy (range 2000 – 3000). Predominant pathological stage and histological grade were IC (73.6%) and grade 3 (51.9%). The lymphovascular invasion was present in 33 patients (31.1%) and pathological stage IC grade 2 was most common (48. 1%) combination of risk factors in this group.
With a follow up median of 58.3 months (range 12.8 – 154), five year overall survival and event free survival were 78.5% and 72.4%, respectively. Locoregional control in five year was 92.4%. Prognostic factors related with survival in univariate analyses were: lymphadenectomy (p = 0.045), lymphovascular invasion (p = 0.047) and initial failure site (p < 0.0001). In multivariate analyses the initial failure in distant sites (p < 0.0001) was the only factor associated with poor survival. Acute and chronic gastrointestinal and genitourinary toxicity grades 3 were not observed.
In conclusion, our results showed that the stage IC, grade 2, 3 and IB grade 3 endometrial cancer was associated with significantly increased risk of distant relapse and endometrial carcinoma-related death independently of salvage treatment modality.
PMCID: PMC1555589  PMID: 16887018
20.  Somatic comorbidity in anorexia nervosa: First results of a 21-year follow-up study on female inpatients 
Anorexia nervosa is a severe psychosomatic disease with somatic complications in the long-term course and a high mortality rate. Somatic comorbidities independent of anorexia nervosa have rarely been studied, but pose a challenge to clinical practitioners. We investigated somatic comorbidities in an inpatient cohort and compared somatically ill anorexic patients and patients without a somatic comorbidity. In order to evaluate the impact of somatic comorbidity for the long-term course of anorexia nervosa, we monitored survival in a long-term follow-up.
One hundred and sixty-nine female inpatients with anorexia nervosa were treated at the Charité University Medical Centre, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin, between 1979 and 2011. We conducted retrospective analyses using patient's medical and psychological records. Information on survival and mortality were required through the local registration office and was available for one hundred patients. The mean follow-up interval for this subgroup was m = 20.9 years (sd = 4.7, min = 13.3, max = 31.6, range = 18.3). We conducted survival analysis using cox regression and included somatic comorbidity in a multivariate model.
N = 41 patients (24.3%) showed a somatic comorbidity, n = 13 patients (7.7%) showed somatic comorbidities related to anorexia nervosa and n = 26 patients (15.4%) showed somatic comorbidities independent of anorexia nervosa, n = 2 patients showed somatic complications related to other psychiatric disorders. Patients with a somatic comorbidity were significantly older (m = 29.5, sd = 10.3 vs m = 25.0, sd = 8.7; p = .006), showed a later anorexia nervosa onset (m = 24.8, sd = 9.9 vs. m = 18.6, sd = 5.1; p < .000) and a longer duration of treatment in our clinic (m = 66.6, sd = 50.3 vs. m = 50.0, sd = 47; p = .05) than inpatients without somatic comorbidity. Out of 100 patients, 9 patients (9%) had died, on average at age of m = 37 years (sd = 9.5). Mortality was more common among inpatients with somatic comorbidity (n = 6, 66.7%) than among inpatients without a somatic disease (n = 3, 33.3%; p = .03). Somatic comorbidity was a significant coefficient in a multivariate survival model (B = 2.32, p = .04).
Somatic comorbidity seems to be an important factor for anorexia nervosa outcome and should be included in multivariate analyses on the long-term course of anorexia nervosa as an independent variable. Further investigations are needed in order to understand in which way anorexia nervosa and a somatic disease can interact.
PMCID: PMC3299644  PMID: 22300749
anorexia nervosa; long-term course; somatic comorbidity; mortality
21.  Impact of comorbidity in elderly prostate cancer patients treated with brachytherapy 
To analyze the correlations among comorbidity and overall survival (OS), biochemical progression-free survival (b-PFS) and toxicity in elderly patients with localized prostate cancer treated with 125I brachytherapy.
Elderly men, aged ≥65 years, with low-intermediate risk prostate cancer, were treated with permanent 125I brachytherapy as monotherapy. Comorbidity data were obtained from medical reports using age-adjusted Charlson comorbidity index (a-CCI). The patients were categorized into two age groups (<75 and ≥75 years old), and two comorbidity score groups (a-CCI ≤3 and >3). Toxicity was scored with Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) scale.
From June 2003 to October 2009, a total of 92 elderly patients underwent prostate brachytherapy, including 57 men (62%) with low-risk prostate cancer, and 35 men (38%) with intermediate-risk prostate cancer. The median age of patients was 75 years (range, 65-87 years). Forty-seven patients (51%) had a-CCI ≤3 and 45 patients (49%) a-CCI >3. With a median follow-up period of 56 months (range, 24-103 months), the 5-year actuarial OS and b-PFS were 91.3% and 92.4% respectively, without statistical significance between two Charlson score groups. Toxicity was mild. None of the patients experienced gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity, and only 4 patiens (4%) experienced late genitourinary (GU) grade-3 (G3) toxicity. No correlation between acute GU and GI toxicity and comorbidity was showed (P=0.50 and P=0.70, respectively).
Our data suggest that elderly men with low-intermediate risk prostate cancer and comorbidity can be considered for a radical treatment as 125I low-dose rate brachytherapy.
PMCID: PMC3696714  PMID: 23825903
Prostate cancer; brachytherapy; elderly; comorbidity; toxicity; overall survival; biochemical control
22.  Brachytherapy boost in loco-regionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma: a prospective randomized trial of the International Atomic Energy Agency 
The purpose was to determine whether a brachytherapy boost improves outcomes in patients with advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma treated with standard chemo-radiotherapy.
Patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma WHO grades I-III and TNM stages III or non-metastatic stage IV were eligible for this phase III study. Patients were randomized to either arm (A) induction chemotherapy, followed by external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) with concomitant cisplatin (n = 139) or arm (B), the same schedule plus a brachytherapy boost to the nasopharynx (n = 135). The EBRT doses given were 70 Gy to the primary tumour and positive lymph nodes and 46 Gy to the negative neck. The additional brachytherapy boost in arm (B) was given by either low dose-rate (LDR – 11 Gy) or high dose-rate (HDR – 3 fractions of 3.0 Gy) brachytherapy. The primary endpoint was 3-year overall survival (OS) and secondary endpoints were: local control, regional control, distant metastasis and grade 3–4 adverse events.
274 patients were randomized between September 2004 and December 2008. The two arms were comparable with regard to age, gender, stage and grade. 273 patients completed treatment. Median follow-up was 29 months (0.2-67 months). The effect of treatment arm, country, age, gender, WHO pathology, stage (T3-4, N2-3 versus other) and chemotherapy on overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS) and local recurrence-free survival (LRFS) was studied. Stage significantly affected OS (p = 0.024) and DFS (p = 0.018) while age significantly affected OS (p = 0.014). None of the other factors studied were significant. The 3-year LRFS was 60.5% and 54.4% in arms A and B respectively (p = 0.647). The 3-year regional control rate in the neck was 59.7% and 54.3% respectively (p = 0.7). Distant metastasis developed in 59.7% of patients in arm A and 55.4% in arm B (p = 0.377). Patients with T1/T2 N + had a 3 year LRFS of 51.8% in Arm A (62 patients) versus 57.9% in Arm B (67 patients) (p = 0.343). The grade 3–4 toxicity rate was 21.6% (30/139) and 24.4% (33/135) respectively (p = 0.687).
The addition of a brachytherapy boost to external beam radiotherapy and chemotherapy did not improve outcome in loco-regionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC4018980  PMID: 24581393
Nasopharynx; Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Brachytherapy boost
23.  High dose rate brachytherapy for oral cancer 
Journal of Radiation Research  2012;54(1):1-17.
Brachytherapy results in better dose distribution compared with other treatments because of steep dose reduction in the surrounding normal tissues. Excellent local control rates and acceptable side effects have been demonstrated with brachytherapy as a sole treatment modality, a postoperative method, and a method of reirradiation. Low-dose-rate (LDR) brachytherapy has been employed worldwide for its superior outcome. With the advent of technology, high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy has enabled health care providers to avoid radiation exposure. This therapy has been used for treating many types of cancer such as gynecological cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. However, LDR and pulsed-dose-rate interstitial brachytherapies have been mainstays for head and neck cancer. HDR brachytherapy has not become widely used in the radiotherapy community for treating head and neck cancer because of lack of experience and biological concerns. On the other hand, because HDR brachytherapy is less time-consuming, treatment can occasionally be administered on an outpatient basis. For the convenience and safety of patients and medical staff, HDR brachytherapy should be explored. To enhance the role of this therapy in treatment of head and neck lesions, we have reviewed its outcomes with oral cancer, including Phase I/II to Phase III studies, evaluating this technique in terms of safety and efficacy. In particular, our studies have shown that superficial tumors can be treated using a non-invasive mold technique on an outpatient basis without adverse reactions. The next generation of image-guided brachytherapy using HDR has been discussed. In conclusion, although concrete evidence is yet to be produced with a sophisticated study in a reproducible manner, HDR brachytherapy remains an important option for treatment of oral cancer.
PMCID: PMC3534285  PMID: 23179377
brachytherapy; oral cancer; high dose rate
24.  Brachytherapy in the therapy of prostate cancer – an interesting choice 
Contemporary Oncology  2013;17(5):407-412.
Brachytherapy is a curative alternative to radical prostatectomy or external beam radiation [i.e. 3D conformal external beam radiation therapy (CRT), intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)] with comparable long-term survival and biochemical control and the most favorable toxicity. HDR brachytherapy (HDR-BT) in treatment of prostate cancer is most frequently used together with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) as a boost (increasing the treatment dose precisely to the tumor). In the early stages of the disease (low, sometimes intermediate risk group), HDR-BT is more often used as monotherapy. There are no significant differences in treatment results (overall survival rate – OS, local recurrence rate – LC) between radical prostatectomy, EBRT and HDR-BT. Low-dose-rate brachytherapy (LDR-BT) is a radiation method that has been known for several years in treatment of localized prostate cancer. The LDR-BT is applied as a monotherapy and also used along with EBRT as a boost. It is used as a sole radical treatment modality, but not as a palliative treatment. The use of brachytherapy as monotherapy in treatment of prostate cancer enables many patients to keep their sexual functions in order and causes a lower rate of urinary incontinence. Due to progress in medical and technical knowledge in brachytherapy (“real-time” computer planning systems, new radioisotopes and remote afterloading systems), it has been possible to make treatment time significantly shorter in comparison with other methods. This also enables better protection of healthy organs in the pelvis. The aim of this publication is to describe both brachytherapy methods.
PMCID: PMC3934024  PMID: 24596528
HDR brachytherapy; LDR brachytherapy; prostate cancer; seeds
25.  Comorbidity in Adult Bone Sarcoma Patients: A Population-Based Cohort Study 
Sarcoma  2014;2014:690316.
Background. Comorbidity is an important prognostic factor for survival in different cancers; however, neither the prevalence nor the impact of comorbidity has been investigated in bone sarcoma. Methods. All adult bone sarcoma patients from western Denmark treated at the Aarhus Sarcoma Centre in the period from 1979 to 2008 were identified through a validated population-based database. Charlson Comorbidity Index scores were computed, using discharge diagnoses from the Danish National Patient Registry. Survival was assessed as overall and disease-specific mortality. The impact of comorbidity was examined as rates according to the level of comorbidity as well as uni- and multivariately using proportional hazard models. Results. A total of 453 patients were identified. The overall prevalence of comorbidity was 19%. The prevalence increased with age and over the study period. In patients with Ewing/osteosarcoma, comorbidity was not associated with an increased overall or disease-specific mortality. However, patients with bone sarcomas other than Ewing/osteosarcoma had increased overall mortality. Independent prognostic factors for disease-specific survival were age, tumor size, stage at diagnosis, soft tissue involvement, grade, and surgery. Conclusion. The prevalence of comorbidity in bone sarcoma patients is low. Comorbidity impaired survival in patients with non-Ewing/nonosteosarcoma, histology. This emphasizes the importance of not only treating the sarcoma but also comorbidity.
PMCID: PMC3958755  PMID: 24723789

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