• brachytherapy;
  • prostate cancer;
  • guidelines;
  • public health policy;
  • radiotherapy


In 1999 and 2000, 2 national guidelines recommended brachytherapy monotherapy (BT) primarily for treatment of low-risk prostate cancer but not high-risk prostate cancer. This study examined rates of BT use before and after publication of these guidelines, as compared with 4 other treatment options.


From 1990 to 2011, 8128 men with localized prostate cancer (≤ T3cN0M0) were treated definitively within the Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE) registry with 1 of 5 primary treatments: BT, external beam radiotherapy (EBRT), EBRT with androgen deprivation therapy, EBRT+BT, or radical prostatectomy. Men were categorized into low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups based on the guidelines' risk-group definitions. Within each risk group, logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) comparing BT with other treatment options between the 1990-1998 and 1999-2011 periods, adjusting for age, disease characteristics, and clinic type.


In total, 1117 men received BT alone for low- (n = 658), intermediate- (n = 244), or high-risk disease (n = 215). BT comprised 6.1% of all treatments in 1990-1998 versus 16.6% in 1999-2011 (P < .01). The odds of BT use remained increased after adjusting for potential confounders (OR = 3.06; P < .001) and was seen among low- (OR = 4.52; P < .001), intermediate- (OR = 2.67; P < .001), and even high-risk groups (OR = 2.11; P < .001).


National guidelines did not appear to influence practice patterns, as BT monotherapy use increased relative to other treatments from the 1990-1998 to 1999-2011 periods in unfavorable risk groups including men with high-risk prostate cancer. Cancer 2014;120:824–832. © 2013 American Cancer Society.