Does hormonal therapy influence sexual function in men receiving 3D conformal radiation therapy for prostate cancer?

Christopher T. Chen, Richard K Valicenti, Jiandong Lu, Troy Derose, Adam P. Dicker, Stephen E. Strup, S. Grant Mulholland, Irvin H. Hirsch, David E. McGinnis, Leonard G. Gomella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Purpose: We evaluated the effect of three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT) with or without hormonal therapy (HT) on sexual function (SF) in prostate cancer patients whose SF was known before all treatment. Methods and Materials: Between March 1996 and March 1999, 144 patients received 3D-CRT (median dose = 70.2 Gy, range 66.6-79.2 Gy) for prostate cancer and had pre- and post-therapy SF data. All SF data were obtained with the O'Leary Brief SF Inventory, a self-administered, multidimensional, validated instrument. We defined total sexual potency as erections firm enough for penetration during intercourse. Mean follow-up time was 21 months (SD ± 11 months). The Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to test for significance of the change from baseline. Results: Before 3D-CRT, 87 (60%) of 144 men were totally potent as compared to only 47 (47%) of 101 at 1-year follow-up. Of the 60 men totally potent at baseline and followed for at least 1 year, 35 (58%) remained totally potent. These changes corresponded to a significant reduction in SF (p < 0.05). Patients who had 3D-CRT alone were more likely to be totally potent at 1 year than those receiving 3D-CRT with HT (56% vs. 31%, p = 0.012); however, they were also more likely to be potent at baseline (71% vs. 44%, p = 0.001). Although these two groups had a significant reduction in SF from baseline, their change was not significantly different from each other. Conclusion: These data indicate that 3D-CRT causes a significant reduction in total sexual potency as compared to pretreatment baseline. The addition of HT does not appear to increase the risk of sexual dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-595
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Conformal radiation therapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Potency
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation


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