Shrinkage of the non-malignant prostate gland volume after receiving incidental radiotherapy for rectal cancer

Josef Kovarik, Charles Kelly, Nick West, Michael Drinnan, Werner Dobrowsky, Muhammad Shahid Iqbal

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


Background: The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of coincidental radiotherapy on the volume of the non-malignant prostate gland in rectal cancer patients treated with neo-adjuvant radiotherapy. Materials and methods: In this retrospective analysis, thirty male patients with rectal cancer who had neoadjuvant radiotherapy met the inclusion criteria. These patients had pre-treatment magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and at least one post-treatment MRI of the pelvis and the whole of their prostate volume received the full prescribed radiotherapy dose; 45 Gy in 25 fractions (n = 22), 45 Gy in 20 fractions (n = 4) and 25 Gy in 5 fractions (n = 4). Results: The median age of this patient cohort was 66 years (range: 30–87). With a median interval between pre-treatment MRI and first MRI post-treatment of 2 months (range: 1–11), the mean prostate volume reduced from 36.1 cm3 [standard deviation (SD) 14.2] pre-radiotherapy to 31.3 cm3 (SD 13.0) post radiotherapy and this difference was significant (p = 0.0004). Conclusion: Radiotherapy may cause shrinkage in volume of normal (non-malignant) prostate. Further research is required in this field, since these results may be of some comfort to men contemplating the consequences of radiotherapy on their quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-582
Number of pages6
JournalReports of Practical Oncology and Radiotherapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

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