Sexual potency following interactive ultrasound-guided brachytherapy for prostate cancer

Richard G. Stock, Nelson N. Stone, Christopher Iannuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Purpose: The effect of a therapeutic modality on sexual potency is often an important consideration for patients choosing a treatment for prostate cancer. We prospectively assessed patients' penile erectile function before and following interactive ultrasound-guided transperineal permanent radioactive seed implantation to determine its effect on sexual function. Methods and Materials: Eighty-nine patients underwent permanent radioactive seed implantation from June 1990 to April 1994 for localized prostate cancer (T1-T2) and were followed for a median of 15 months (1.5-52 months). 125I seeds were implanted in 73 patients with a combined Gleason grade of 2-6, and 103Pd seeds were implanted in 16 patients with higher grade lesions. The sexual potency of these patients was assessed prior to, at 3 and 6 months, and every 6 months after implantation. Erectile function was graded using a numerical score of 0 to 3 (0 = impotent (no erections), 1 = ability to have erections but insufficient for vaginal penetration, 2 = erectile function sufficient for vaginal penetration but suboptimal, 3 = normal erectile function). The pretreatment potency scores were as follows: 0 in 24 patients, 1 in 6 patients, 2 in 22 patients, and 3 in 37 patients. Results: The actuarial impotency rates (score = 0) following implantation for those patients possessing some degree of erectile function prior to implantation (65 patients) were 2.5% at 1 year and 6% at 2 years. The actuarial decrease in sexual function rates (a drop in score of at least one point) were 29% at 1 year and 39% at 2 years. Only two patients became impotent following treatment and this occurred at 1 year and 16 months. The time period for a decrease in erectile function to occur ranged from 1.8 months to 32.7 months, with a median of 6.8 months. Patients with higher grade tumors showed a greater decrease in potency score compared to patients with lower grade tumors. Conclusion: Interactive ultrasound-guided transperineal brachytherapy for the treatment of localized prostate cancer is associated with preservation of erectile function in the vast majority of patients, although a minor decrease in potency is not uncommon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-272
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 May 1996


  • Brachytherapy
  • Potency
  • Prostate cancer


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