Study Finds Link Between Comorbidities Pre-Radiation Treatment and ED

African Americans have slightly higher risk or relation

According to new studies, the number of comorbidities that a man possesses prior to prostate cancer radiotherapy can influence another aspect of his life following treatment: the ability to achieve erection. This, according to the study reported on in the American Society of Radiation Oncology during their 55 th annual meeting.

The study is now looking at the relationship between the two situations, as well as the presence of hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia before the treatment is undertaken.

“Erectile dysfunction is very high in the population we studied, but we need to better understand which men have a higher risk of development of post-treatment ED,” said co-investigator Yuefeng Wang, PhD, a research scientist at Emory University in Atlanta. “We found that if a man had no vascular comorbidities, than his increased risk for ED post radiation therapy was 40%, but if he had all three comorbidities than the risk for ED went up [by] approximately 75%.”

“This is the first study of its type,” said co-investigator Ashesh Jani, MD, Professor of Radiation Oncology at Emory in Atlanta. “Our study shows vascular morbidity has a direct consequence on the ability to preserve erections after radiation therapy.”

The study included over 250 Caucasians and over 450 African-American men who each received beam radiotherapy and/or brachytherapy. They were also separated into with/without hormone therapy. This testing spanned 1999 to 2010. The age groups ranged from 68 and 63 years (respective to race).

Overall, ED was found to progressively increase in 22% prior to the treatments to up to 58% four years following. Among the Caucasians 40 to 71% incidence of ED was found respective to zero to three comorbidities present prior. For African Americans the numbers were all slightly higher, at 46%, 57%, 64% and 76% respectively.

“Clinicians can use the results of the study to provide estimates of post-radiotherapy erectile dysfunction as a function of vascular comorbidities when counseling patients on treatment options for prostate cancer,” Dr. Jani told Renal & Urology News. The study also provides preliminary data for prospective trials aimed at aimed at decreasing the likelihood of this complication, he added.

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