Incidence of genitourinary complications following radiation therapy for localised prostate cancer

Rowan V. David, Arman A. Kahokehr, Jason Lee, David I. Watson, John Leung, Michael E. O’Callaghan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Studies of genitourinary toxicity following radiotherapy for prostate cancer are mainly from high volume single institutions and the incidence and burden of treatment remain uncertain. Hence we determine the cumulative incidence of treatment-related genitourinary toxicity in patients with localised prostate cancer treated with primary external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) at a state population level. 

Methods: We analysed data from a prospective population-based cohort, including hospital admission and cancer registry data, for men with localised prostate cancer who underwent primary EBRT without nodal irradiation between 1998 and 2019 in South Australia. The 10-year cumulative incidence of genitourinary toxicity requiring hospitalisation or procedures was determined. Clinical predictors of toxicity and the volume of admissions, non-operative, minor operative and major operative procedures were determined. 

Results: All the included patients (n = 3350) had EBRT, with a median (IQR) of 74 Gy (70–78) in 37 fractions (35–39). The 10-year cumulative incidence of was 28.4% (95% CI 26.3–30.6) with a total of 2545 hospital admissions, including 1040 (41%) emergency and 1893 (74%) readmissions. The 10-year cumulative incidence of patients in this cohort requiring a urological operative procedure was 18% (95% CI 16.1–19.9), with a total of 106 (4.2%) non-operative, 1044 (41%) minor operative and 57 (2.2%) major operative urological procedures. 

Conclusions: Genitourinary toxicity after radiotherapy for prostate cancer is common. Although there continue to be advancements in radiotherapy techniques, patients and physicians should be aware of the risk of late toxicity when considering EBRT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2411-2422
Number of pages12
Issue number10
Early online date11 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • External beam radiotherapy
  • Genitourinary complications
  • Prostate cancer
  • Radiation cystitis
  • Radiation therapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Urethral stricture


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