Comparative effectiveness of cryotherapy vs brachytherapy for localised prostate cancer

Stephen B. Williams, Yin Lei, Paul L. Nguyen, Xiangmei Gu, Stuart R. Lipsitz, Hua Yin Yu, Keith J. Kowalczyk, Jim C. Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective To compare prostate cryotherapy vs brachytherapy outcomes and costs, as despite the greater popularity of these emerging therapies for localised prostate cancer, outcomes data remains sparse beyond single-centre comparative studies. Patients and Methods Observational study of 10 928 men who underwent primary cryotherapy (943 patients) or brachytherapy (9985) with â¥2 years of follow-up using USA Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER-) Medicare linked data. Weighted propensity score methods were used. Results Use of cryotherapy increased four-fold whereas brachytherapy utilization remained the same from 2001 to 2005 (P < 0.001). Men who underwent cryotherapy vs brachytherapy were older (P < 0.001), more likely to be Black (P < 0.001), less likely to live in areas of higher education (P < 0.001), less likely to live in areas with greater income (P < 0.001), and were more likely to live in urban vs rural areas (P= 0.007). In propensity score-weighted analyses, cryotherapy was associated with more urinary (41.4% vs 22.2%, P < 0.001) and erectile dysfunction (ED) complications (34.7% vs 21.0%, P < 0.001) while brachytherapy was associated with more bowel complications (19.0% vs 12.1%, P < 0.001). Cryotherapy was associated with greater use of salvage androgen deprivation therapy (ADT; 1.4 vs 0.5 per 100 person-years, P < 0.001), suggesting worse cancer control. Finally costs were significantly greater for brachytherapy vs cryotherapy ($16 887 vs $12 629 USA dollars, P < 0.001). Conclusions Although less costly, cryotherapy was associated with more urinary and ED complications and greater need for salvage ADT. Conversely, cryotherapy was associated with fewer bowel complications. Patients and providers alike should consider these population-based outcomes when discussing therapeutic options for localised prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E92-E98
JournalBJU International
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • Surveillance
  • and End Results (SEER)
  • brachytherapy
  • complications
  • cryotherapy
  • prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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