Objective: No previous studies have reported the longitudinal health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). We compared HRQOL after IMRT with that after conventional and after conformal radiation therapy (XRT). Methods: A total of 110 patients underwent XRT (34 patients underwent conventional radiation therapy and 76 underwent conformal radiation therapy) and 30 underwent IMRT for clinically localized prostate cancer between 2000 and 2002. We measured the general and disease-specific HRQOL using the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Health Survey and University of California, Los Angeles, Prostate Cancer Index, respectively. Results: There were no significant differences in the preoperative characteristics and HRQOL scores of the two groups. Repeated measure analyses of variance revealed significantly different patterns of alteration in several general HRQOL domains between XRT and the IMRT groups. In the urinary domain, there was no difference in the alteration patterns between the two groups. The XRT group suffered worse bowel function at 3 and 6 months than the IMRT group (P < 0.05). In the XRT group, sexual function decreased at 3 months and remained substantially lower than the baseline level. However, the IMRT group showed no significant difference from the baseline level at any of the observation periods. At 18 months the XRT group showed worse sexual function than the IMRT group. Conclusion: The two approaches showed different longitudinal profiles regarding general and disease-specific HRQOL during the first 2 years after treatment. The IMRT approach produced little impairment in bowel and sexual function.
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