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Keywords:

  • sexual function;
  • prostate cancer;
  • erectile dysfunction;
  • penile rehabilitation;
  • radical prostatectomy

Study Type – Therapy (case series)

Level of Evidence 4

What's known on the subject? and What does the study add?

The role of the vacuum erection device (VED) has increased with its use in combined therapy with a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE5i) for penile rehabilitation after radical prostatectomy (RP) and radiotherapy. The advantages of the VED are non-invasive, cost-effective, and a possibility of preventing shrinkage of penis length. Albeit current widespread use of penile rehabilitation programmes for post-RP erectile dysfunction, independent predictors for the rehabilitation participants, as well as for its treatment success have not been fully investigated.

In the present study, we have added several new predictors for rehabilitation participation, e.g. African-Americans and higher preoperative sexual function. Conversely, higher preoperative PSA concentrations and the presence of positive surgical margins were predictors for avoidance of rehabilitation. Notably, there was a primary surgeon difference, which had a trend for predicting outcome of the rehabilitation among the participants, implying their surgical technique and follow-up might influence success of the rehabilitation.

OBJECTIVES

  • • 
    To investigate baseline demographic and clinicopathological characteristics of men who participate in our penile rehabilitation programme after radical prostatectomy (RP).
  • • 
    To determine predictors for participation in rehabilitation, as well as successful rehabilitation outcome using multivariable logistic regression analyses.

PATIENTS AND METHODS

  • • 
    We analysed data on 2345 consecutive patients who underwent RP between 2001 and 2009 in our institution.
  • • 
    The decision to participate in penile rehabilitation using phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor (PDE5i) with a vacuum erection device (VED) was based on the patient's choice after post-RP discussions.
  • • 
    Rehabilitation success was defined using the following criteria: (i) patients who continued the penile rehabilitation programme and did not switch treatment from PDE5i to other erectile aids, (ii) success was noted in men who had an Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite (EPIC) sexual function (SF) score of >75% of the patient's baseline EPIC score, and (iii) patients who answered that they achieved adequate erections with a PDE5i.
  • • 
    Logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with treatment participation and its success.

RESULTS

  • • 
    Of 676 patients, 354 (53.2%) men participated in a penile rehabilitation programme. Among 329 rehabilitation participants with available data, 96 (29.2%) had treatment success.
  • • 
    In multivariable regression analysis, African-Americans (odds ratio [OR] 3.47, P < 0.001), and higher preoperative SF (OR 1.02, P < 0.001) were associated with participation in rehabilitation.
  • • 
    Higher preoperative PSA concentration (OR 0.50, P= 0.004) and presence of positive surgical margins (OR 0.68, P= 0.042) were found to be independent predictors for non-participation in the rehabilitation.
  • • 
    For rehabilitation outcomes, being older at surgery (OR 0.93, P= 0.001) and adjuvant therapy (OR 0.34, P= 0.047) had a negative association with successful outcome.
  • • 
    There was a trend in the relationship between primary surgeon and rehabilitation success (OR 1.05, P= 0.053)

CONCLUSIONS

  • • 
    Those patients who have risk factors, e.g. adverse prostate cancer features, need to be carefully counselled and encouraged to participate in the penile rehabilitation programme.
  • • 
    Clinicians could lead patients toward successful outcomes if appropriate surgical techniques and rehabilitation are provided.