Late rectal toxicity after conformal radiotherapy of prostate cancer (I): multivariate analysis and dose-response

M W Skwarchuk, A Jackson, M J Zelefsky, E S Venkatraman, D M Cowen, S Levegr√ľn, C M Burman, Z Fuks, S A Leibel, C C Ling
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2000 April 1, 47 (1): 103-13

PURPOSE: The purpose of this paper is to use the outcome of a dose escalation protocol for three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT) of prostate cancer to study the dose-response for late rectal toxicity and to identify anatomic, dosimetric, and clinical factors that correlate with late rectal bleeding in multivariate analysis.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Seven hundred forty-three patients with T1c-T3 prostate cancer were treated with 3D-CRT with prescribed doses of 64.8 to 81.0 Gy. The 5-year actuarial rate of late rectal toxicity was assessed using Kaplan-Meier statistics. A retrospective dosimetric analysis was performed for patients treated to 70.2 Gy (52 patients) or 75.6 Gy (119 patients) who either exhibited late rectal bleeding (RTOG Grade 2/3) within 30 months after treatment (i.e., 70.2 Gy-13 patients, 75. 6 Gy-36 patients) or were nonbleeding for at least 30 months (i.e., 70.2 Gy-39 patients, 75.6 Gy-83 patients). Univariate and multivariate logistic regression was performed to correlate late rectal bleeding with several anatomic, dosimetric, and clinical variables.

RESULTS: A dose response for >/= Grade 2 late rectal toxicity was observed. By multivariate analysis, the following factors were significantly correlated with >/= Grade 2 late rectal bleeding for patients prescribed 70.2 Gy: 1) enclosure of the outer rectal contour by the 50% isodose on the isocenter slice (i.e., Iso50) (p < 0.02), and 2) smaller anatomically defined rectal wall volume (p < 0.05). After 75.6 Gy, the following factors were significant: 1) smaller anatomically defined rectal wall volume (p < 0.01), 2) higher rectal D(max) (p < 0.01), 3) enclosure of rectal contour by Iso50 (p < 0.01), 4) patient age (p = 0.02), and 5) history of diabetes mellitus (p = 0.04). In addition to these five factors, acute rectal toxicity was also significantly correlated (p = 0.05) with late rectal bleeding when patients from both dose groups were combined in multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSION: A multivariate logistic regression model is presented which describes the probability of developing late rectal bleeding after conformal irradiation of prostate cancer. Late rectal bleeding correlated with factors which may indicate that a greater fractional volume of rectal wall was exposed to high dose, such as smaller rectal wall volume, inclusion of the rectum within the 50% isodose on the isocenter slice, and higher rectal D(max).

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