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Late adverse effects following radiation therapy for prostate cancer involve the urinary and lower gastrointestinal tracts, with continuous rectal bleeding being the most serious issue. We focused on late adverse effects, particularly rectal bleeding after volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT), for patients with locally advanced prostate cancer.
Materials and Methods
Seventy-three patients with localized prostate cancer were treated with radiation therapy using VMAT with an image-guided radiation therapy system. Patient age at the start of irradiation ranged from 54 to 81 years (median, 71 years). The follow-up period ranged from 23 to 87 months (median, 57 months). The prescribed total irradiation dose was 76 Gy in 38 fractions.
Late rectal bleeding was observed in 14 (19%) patients, with nine (12.3%), four (5.5%), and one (1.4%) being classified as grades 1, 2, and 3, respectively. One grade 3 patient with rectal bleeding had severe diabetes and was administered intravenous warfarin for cardiomyopathy.
VMAT may provide better accuracy and involve fewer time constraints for patients compared with other intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) methods. The incidence of late rectal bleeding in VMAT is almost equivalent to that of other IMRT methods.
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