Low-Dose-Rate Brachytherapy Versus Cryotherapy in Low- and Intermediate-Risk Prostate Cancer

Matthew M. Gestaut, Wendi Cai, Shilpa Vyas, Belur J. Patel, Salman A. Hasan, Yolanda MunozMaldonado, Niloyjyoti Deb, Gregory Swanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose Cryotherapy and brachytherapy are definitive local treatment options for low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer. There are both prospective and retrospective data for brachytherapy, but the use of cryotherapy has been limited primarily to single-institution retrospective studies. Currently, no published evidence has compared low-dose-rate brachytherapy versus cryotherapy. Methods and Materials Institutional review board approval was obtained to conduct a retrospective chart review of consecutive patients treated at our institution from 1990 to 2012. For inclusion, patients must have received a prostate cancer diagnosis and have been considered to have low- to intermediate-risk disease according to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network criteria. All patients received brachytherapy or cryotherapy treatment. Disease specifics and failure details were collected for all patients. Failure was defined as prostate-specific antigen nadir +2 ng/mL. Results A total of 359 patients were analyzed. The groups comprised 50 low-risk cryotherapy (LRC), 92 intermediate-risk cryotherapy (IRC), 133 low-risk brachytherapy (LRB), and 84 intermediate-risk brachytherapy (IRB) patients. The median prostate-specific antigen follow-up periods were 85.6 months (LRC), 59.2 months (IRC), 74.9 months (LRB), and 59.8 months (IRB). The 5-year biochemical progression–free survival (bPFS) rate was 57.9% in the cryotherapy group versus 89.6% in the brachytherapy group (P<.0001). The 5-year bPFS rate was 70.0% (LRC), 51.4% (IRC), 89.4% (LRB), and 89.7% (IRB). The bPFS rate was significantly different between brachytherapy and cryotherapy for low- and intermediate-risk groups (P<.05). The mean nadir temperature reached for cryotherapy patients was −35°C (range, −96°C to −6°C). Cryotherapy used a median of 2 freeze-thaw cycles (range, 2-4 freeze-thaw cycles). Conclusions Results from this study suggest that cryotherapy is inferior to brachytherapy for patients with low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer. Patient selection criteria for consideration of cryotherapy and brachytherapy are similar in terms of anesthesia candidacy. Therefore, cryotherapy would not be recommended as a first-line local therapy for this particular patient subset.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-107
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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