Sexual function does not continuously decline after RT for PCa

January 14, 2010

Sexual function in prostate cancer patients receiving external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) decreases within the first 2 years after treatment but then stabilizes and does not continuously decline as was previously thought, according to a recently published study.

Sexual function in prostate cancer patients receiving external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) decreases within the first 2 years after treatment but then stabilizes and does not continuously decline as was previously thought, according to a recently published study.

Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, and the University of California, Davis, evaluated 143 prostate cancer patients receiving EBRT who completed baseline data on sexual function before treatment and at follow-up visits.

Patients were analyzed on sexual drive, erectile function, ejaculatory function, and overall satisfaction for a median time of about 4 years. The study authors found that the strongest predictor of sexual function after treatment was sexual function before treatment, and the only statistically significant decrease in function occurred in the first 2 years after treatment and then stabilized with no significant changes thereafter.

"Treatment-related side effects, especially sexual function, have a significant effect on a patient’s quality of life and satisfaction with their overall outcome," said senior author Richard Valicenti, MD, MA, of UC Davis. "The results of this study allow patients and their partners to have a fuller understanding of the long-term sexual side effects of EBRT and what they can expect after treatment, which should aid in deciding on a treatment course."

Results from the study were published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics (2010; 76:31-5).