Smokers have increased risk of bladder cancer after radiation therapy for prostate cancer

A presentation at the AUA Western section meeting was reviewed in the Urology Times November 2005 issue:
UT article: Smokers face higher risk of TCC after radiation
Patients that have a history of smoking are 13 more likely to get bladder cancer (transitional cell cancer) after radiation as compared to patients who get radiation and have not smoked.

This was an interesting study that adds to the known literature involving long term effects of radiation for the treatment of prostate cancer.
There was a retrospective review performed by Nancy Baxter, MD, PhD, from the University Of Minnesota Cancer Center that revealed an increase of 70% in the risk of rectal cancer following radiation therapy for prostate cancer (click for abstract).
This led to a recommendation to screen every radiation patient with endoscopy every 5 years.
Physicians: Medscape offers CME credits for learning about Baxter’s study.
The current study is from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester Minnesota with lead author Kristin Chrouser, MD. I will await the publishing of their results to comment on their study, but this study is a meaningful reminder that although radiation is relatively effective in treating prostate cancer, it does have sidel effects on nearby organs.
We will have to see if the newer ways that are being developed to target tissues with radiation will lead to less of these problems in the future.
Domenico Savatta, MD