Propensity-weighted long-term risk of urinary adverse events after prostate cancer surgery, radiation, or both

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Background Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men and has high survivorship, yet little is known about the long-term risk of urinary adverse events (UAEs) after treatment. Objective To compare the long-term UAE incidence across treatment and control groups. Design, setting, and participants Using a matched-cohort design, we identified elderly men treated with external-beam radiotherapy (EBRT; n = 44 318), brachytherapy (BT; n = 14 259), EBRT+BT (n = 11 835), radical prostatectomy (RP; n = 26 970), RP+EBRT (n = 1557), or cryotherapy (n = 2115) for non-metastatic prostate cancer and 144 816 non-cancer control individuals from the population-based Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare linked data from 1992-2007 with follow-up through 2009. Outcome measures and statistical analysis The incidence of treated UAEs and time from cancer treatment to first UAE were analyzed in terms of propensity-weighted survival. Results Median follow-up was 4.14 yr. At 10 yr, all treatment groups experienced higher propensity-weighted cumulative UAE incidence than the control group (16.1%; hazard risk [HR] 1.0), with the highest incidence for RP+EBRT (37.8%; HR 3.19, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.79-3.66), followed by BT+EBRT (28.4%; HR 1.97, CI 1.85-2.10), RP (26.6%; HR 2.44, CI 2.34-2.55), cryotherapy (23.4%; HR 1.56, CI 1.30-1.87), BT (19.8%; HR 1.43, CI 1.33-1.53), and EBRT (19.7%; HR 1.11, CI 1.07-1.16). Bladder outlet obstruction was the most common event. Conclusions Men undergoing RP, RP+EBRT, and BT+EBRT experienced the highest UAE risk at 10 yr, although UAEs accrued differently over extended follow-up. The significant background UAE rate among non-cancer control individuals yields a risk attributable to prostate cancer treatment that is 17% lower than prior estimates. Patient summary We show that treatment for prostate cancer, especially combinations of two treatments such as radiation and surgery, carries a significant risk of urinary adverse events such as urethral stricture. This risk increases with time since treatment, emphasizing that treatments have long-term effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-280
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 European Association of Urology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Outcomes research
  • Prostate cancer
  • Reconstructive urology
  • SEER-Medicare
  • Urinary adverse effects


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