Anatomic-Based Three-Dimensional Planning Precludes Use of Catheter-Delivered Contrast for Treatment of Prostate Cancer

Melisa Boersma, Gregory Swanson, Diana Baacke, Tony Eng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Retrograde urethrography is a standard method to identify the prostatic apex during planning for prostate cancer radiotherapy. This is an invasive and uncomfortable procedure. With modern three-dimensional computed tomography planning, we explored whether retrograde urethrography was still necessary to accurately identify the prostatic apex. Methods and Materials: Fifteen patients underwent computed tomography simulation with and without bladder, urethral, and rectal contrast. The prostatic base and apex were identified on both scans, using contrast and anatomy, respectively. The anatomic location of the prostatic apex as defined by these methods was confirmed in another 57 patients with postbrachytherapy imaging. Results: The prostatic base and apex were within a mean of 3.8 mm between the two scans. In every case, the beak of the retrograde urethrogram abutted the line drawn parallel to, and bisecting, the pubic bone on the lateral films. With these anatomic relationships defined, in the postbrachytherapy patients, the distance from the prostatic apex to the point at which the urethra traversed the pelvic floor was an average of 11.7 mm. On lateral films, we found that the urethra exited the pelvis an average of 16.6 mm below the posterior-most fusion of the pubic symphysis. On axial images, this occurred at a mean separation of the ischia of about 25 mm. Conclusion: With a knowledge of the anatomic relationships and modern three-dimensional computed tomography planning equipment, the prostatic apex can be easily and consistently identified, obviating the need to subject patients to retrograde urethrography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2008


  • Prostate cancer
  • Radiotherapy
  • Retrograde urethrography
  • Treatment planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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