Doctors could predict erectile dysfunction among prostate cancer patients: Study
There are 12 genetic markers that could help doctors determine which prostate cancer patients are likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction after undergoing radiation therapy, new research shows.
Researchers say that identifying these patients before they begin treatment could help men and their families be better informed about which treatments are best for their specific cancer and lifestyle. The findings could also help doctors recommend the most effective treatments that carry the lowest risk of a patient developing erectile dysfunction.
The main three treatments for prostate cancer - surgery, brachytherapy, or seed implants, and external beam radiation therapy - are each effective ways of treating the disease, but also put patients at risk of developing erectile dysfunction.
Researchers looked at 593 prostate cancer patients who received seed implants or external beam radiation therapy and hormone therapy. Of those 593, 260 reported erectile dysfunction.
Dr. Barry S. Rosenstein, who works at the radiation oncology department at Mount Sinai Medical School, one of five schools institutions involved in the study, said the study identified 12 DNA sequences that were associated with erectile dysfunction development after radiation treatment.
"If validated further, these (DNA sequences) could provide the basis for a blood test that would enable radiation oncologists to predict more accurately which men are most likely to develop erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer radiation therapy."