Effect of Prostate Cancer Severity on Functional Outcomes After Localized Treatment: Comparative Effectiveness Analysis of Surgery and Radiation Study Results

Mark Douglas Tyson, Tatsuki Koyama, Dan Lee, Karen E. Hoffman, Matthew J. Resnick, Xiao Cheng Wu, Matthew R. Cooperberg, Michael Goodman, Sheldon Greenfield, Ann S. Hamilton, Mia Hashibe, Lisa E. Paddock, Antoinette Stroup, Vivien Chen, Ralph Conwill, Dan McCollum, David F. Penson, Daniel A. Barocas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Whether prostate cancer severity modifies patient-reported functional outcomes after radical prostatectomy (RP) or external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) for localized cancer is unknown. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether differences in predicted function over time between RP and EBRT varied by risk group. Design, setting, and participants: The Comparative Effectiveness Analysis of Surgery and Radiation (CEASAR) study is a prospective, population-based, observational study that enrolled men with localized prostate cancer in 2011–2012. Among 2117 CEASAR participants who underwent RP or EBRT, 817 had low-risk, 902 intermediate-risk, and 398 high-risk disease. Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Patient-reported, disease-specific function was measured using the 26-item Expanded Prostate Index Composite (at baseline and 6, 12, and 36 mo). Predicted function was estimated using regression models and compared by disease risk. Results and limitations: Low-risk EBRT patients reported 3-yr sexual function scores 12 points higher than those of low-risk RP patients (RP, 39 points [95% confidence interval {CI}, 37–42] vs EBRT, 52 points [95% CI, 47–56]; p < 0.001). The difference in 3-yr scores for high-risk patients was not clinically significant (RP, 32 points [95% CI, 28–35] vs EBRT, 38 points [95% CI, 33–42]; p = 0.03). However, when using a commonly used binary definition of sexual function (erections firm enough for intercourse), no major differences were noted between RP and EBRT at 3 yr across low-, intermediate-, and high-risk disease strata. No clinically significant interactive effects between treatment and cancer severity were observed for incontinence, bowel, irritative voiding, and hormone domains. The primary limitation is the lack of firmly established thresholds for clinically significant differences in Expanded Prostate Index Composite domain scores. Conclusions: For men with low-risk prostate cancer, EBRT was associated with higher sexual function scores at 3 yr than RP; however, for men with high-risk prostate cancer, no clinically significant difference was noted. Men with high-risk prostate cancer should be counseled that EBRT and RP carry similar sexual function outcomes at 3 yr. Patient summary: In this report, we studied the urinary, sexual, bowel, and hormonal functions of patients 3 yr after undergoing prostate cancer surgery or radiation. We found that for patients with high-risk disease, sexual function was similar between surgery and radiation. We conclude that high-risk patients undergoing radiation therapy should be counseled that sexual function may not be as good as low-risk patients undergoing radiation. For high-risk prostate cancer patients, surgery and radiation result in similar 3-yr sexual function outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-33
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Urology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Urology


  • Comparative effectiveness
  • Disease risk
  • Patient-reported function
  • Prostate cancer
  • Radiation
  • Surgery


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