Myelodysplastic Syndromes and Acute Myeloid Leukemia After Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer: A Population-Based Study

Rong Wang, Amer M. Zeidan, James B. Yu, Pamela R. Soulos, Amy J. Davidoff, Steven D. Gore, Scott F. Huntington, Cary P. Gross, Xiaomei Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: To understand the impact of radiotherapy on the development of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) among elderly prostate cancer patients. METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study of elderly prostate cancer patients diagnosed during 1999–2011 by using the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results—Medicare linked database. Competing risk analyses adjusting for patient characteristics were conducted to assess the impact of radiotherapy on the development of subsequent MDS/AML, compared with surgery. RESULTS: Of 32,112 prostate cancer patients, 14,672 underwent radiotherapy, and 17,440 received surgery only. The median follow-up was 4.68 years. A total of 157 (0.47%) prostate cancer patients developed subsequent MDS or AML, and the median time to develop MDS/AML was 3.30 (range: 0.16–9.48) years. Compared with prostate cancer patients who received surgery only, patients who underwent radiotherapy had a significantly increased risk of developing MDS/AML (hazard ratio [HR] =1.51, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.07–2.13). When radiotherapy was further categorized by modalities (brachytherapy, conventional conformal radiotherapy, and intensity-modulated radiotherapy [IMRT]), increased risk of second MDS/AML was only observed in the IMRT group (HR = 1.66, 95% CI: 1.09–2.54). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that radiotherapy for prostate cancer increases the risk of MDS/AML, and the impact may differ by modality. Additional studies with longer follow-up are needed to further clarify the role of radiotherapy in the development of subsequent myeloid malignancies. A better understanding may help patients, physicians, and other stakeholders make more informed treatment decisions. Prostate 77:437–445, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-445
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • acute myeloid leukemia
  • myelodysplastic syndromes
  • prostate cancer
  • radiotherapy
  • second cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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