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Feasibility Study of an Intensity-Modulated Radiation Model for the Study of Erectile Dysfunction


Bridget F. Koontz, MD, Department of Radiation Oncology, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3295 Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA. Tel: (919) 668-5213; Fax: (919) 668-7345; E-mail:


Introduction.  Preclinical studies of radiotherapy (RT) induced erectile dysfunction (ED) have been limited by radiation toxicity when using large fields.

Aim.  To develop a protocol of rat prostate irradiation using techniques mimicking the current clinical standard of intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).

Main Outcome Measures.  Quality assurance (QA) testing of plan accuracy, animal health 9 weeks after RT, and intracavernosal pressure (ICP) measurement on cavernosal nerve stimulation.

Methods.  Computed tomography-based planning was used to develop a stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) treatment plan for five young adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. Two treatment planning strategies were utilized to deliver 20 Gy in a single fraction: three-dimensional dynamic conformal arc and intensity-modulated arc (RapidArc). QA testing was performed for each plan type. Treatment was delivered using a NovalisTX (Varian Medical Systems) with high-definition multi-leaf collimators using on-board imaging prior to treatment. Each animal was evaluated for ED 2 months after treatment by nerve stimulation and ICP measurement.

Results.  The mean prostate volume and target volume (5 mm expansion of prostate) for the five animals was 0.36 and 0.66 cm3, respectively. Both conformal and RapidArc plans provided at least 95% coverage of the target volume, with rapid dose fall-off. QA plans demonstrated strong agreement between doses of calculated and delivered plans, although the conformal arc plan was more homogenous in treatment delivery. Treatment was well tolerated by the animals with no toxicity out to 9 weeks. Compared with control animals, significant reduction in ICP/mean arterial pressure, maximum ICP, and ICP area under the curve were noted.

Conclusion.  Tightly conformal dynamic arc prostate irradiation is feasible and results in minimal toxicity and measurable changes in erectile function. Koontz BF, Yan H, Kimura M, Vujaskovic Z, Donatucci C, and Yin F-F. Feasibility study of an intensity-modulated radiation model for study of erectile dysfunction. J Sex Med 2011;8:411–418.