J Clin Oncol. 2024 Mar 20:JCO2301604. Online ahead of print.

James B Yu, David M DeStephano, Brian Jeffers, David P Horowitz, Pamela R Soulos, Cary P Gross, Simon K Cheng

Purpose: Previous comparative effectiveness studies have not demonstrated a benefit of proton beam therapy (PBT) compared with intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for prostate cancer. An updated comparison of GI and genitourinary (GU) toxicity is needed.

Methods: We investigated the SEER-Medicare linked database, identifying patients with localized prostate cancer diagnosed from 2010 to 2017. Procedure and diagnosis codes indicative of treatment-related toxicity were identified. As a sensitivity analysis, we also identified toxicity based only on procedure codes. Patients who underwent IMRT and PBT were matched 2:1 on the basis of clinical and sociodemographic characteristics. We then compared GI and GU toxicity at 6, 12, and 24 months after treatment.

Results: The final sample included 772 PBT patients matched to 1,544 IMRT patients. The frequency of GI toxicity for IMRT versus PBT was 3.5% versus 2.5% at 6 months (P = .18), 9.5% versus 10.2% at 12 months (P = .18), and 20.5% versus 23.4% at 24 months (P = .11). The frequency of only procedure codes indicative of GI toxicity for IMRT versus PBT was too low to be reported and not significantly different. The frequency of GU toxicity for IMRT versus PBT was 6.8% versus 5.7% (P = .30), 14.3% versus 12.2% (P = .13), and 28.2% versus 25.8% (P = .21) at 6, 12, and 24 months, respectively. When looking only at procedure codes, the frequency of GU toxicity for IMRT was 1.0% at 6 months, whereas it was too infrequent to report for PBT (P = .64). GU toxicity for IMRT versus PBT was 3.3% versus 2.1% (P = .10), and 8.7% versus 6.7% (P = .10) at 12 and 24 months, respectively.

Conclusion: In this observational study, there were no statistically significant differences between PBT and IMRT in terms of GI or GU toxicity.