The impact of gastrointestinal and genitourinary toxicity on health related quality of life among irradiated prostate cancer patients

Wouter Schaake, Erwin M. Wiegman, Martijn de Groot, Hans Paul van der Laan, Cees van der Schans, Alfons C.M. van den Bergh, Johannes A. Langendijk

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To determine the impact of late radiation-induced toxicity on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among patients with prostate cancer.


The study sample was composed of 227 patients, treated with external beam radiotherapy. Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 3.0 were used to grade late genitourinary and gastrointestinal toxicity. The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of life Questionnaire C30 (EORTC QLQ-C30) was used to assess HRQoL at baseline, and 6, 12 and 24 months after completion of radiotherapy. Statistical analysis was performed using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA).


Urinary incontinence and rectal discomfort significantly affected HRQoL. The impact of urinary incontinence on HRQoL was most pronounced 6 months after radiotherapy and gradually decreased over time. The impact of rectal discomfort on HRQoL was predominant at 6 months after radiotherapy, decreased at 12 months and increased again 2 years after radiotherapy. No significant impact on HRQoL was observed for any of the other toxicity endpoints, or non-toxicity related factors such as hormonal therapy, radiotherapy technique or age.


Urinary incontinence and rectal discomfort have a significant impact on HRQoL. Prevention of these side effects may likely improve quality of life of prostate cancer patients after completion of treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-290
JournalRadiotherapy and oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013



  • gastrointestinal side effects
  • prostate cancer
  • radiotherapy

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