Purpose and Objectives

With increasing use of hypofractionation and extreme hypofractionation for prostate cancer, rectal dose-volume histogram (DVH) parameters that apply across dose fractionations may be helpful for treatment planning in clinical practice. We present an exploratory analysis of biologically effective rectal dose (BED) and equivalent rectal dose in 2 Gy fractions (EQD2) for rectal bleeding in patients treated with proton therapy across dose fractionations.

Materials and Methods

From 2016 to 2018, 243 patients with prostate cancer were treated with definitive proton therapy. Rectal DVH parameters were obtained from treatment plans, and rectal bleeding events were recorded. The BED and EQD2 transformations were applied to each rectal DVH parameter. Univariate analysis using logistic regression was used to determine DVH parameters that were significant predictors of grade ≥ 2 rectal bleeding. Youden index was used to determine optimum cutoffs for clinically meaningful DVH constraints. Stepwise model-selection criteria were then applied to fit a “best” multivariate logistic model for predicting Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events grade ≥ 2 rectal bleeding.


Conventional fractionation, hypofractionation, and extreme hypofractionation were prescribed to 117 (48%), 84 (34%), and 42 (17.3%) patients, respectively. With a median follow-up of 20 (2.5-40) months, 10 (4.1%) patients experienced rectal bleeding. On univariate analysis, multiple rectal DVH parameters were significantly associated with rectal bleeding across BED, EQD2, and nominal doses. The BED volume receiving 55 Gy > 13.91% was found to be statistically and clinically significant. The BED volume receiving 55 Gy remained statistically significant for an association with rectal bleeding in the multivariate model (odds ratio, 9.81; 95% confidence interval, 2.4-40.5; P = .002).


In patients undergoing definitive proton therapy for prostate cancer, dose to the rectum and volume of the rectum receiving the dose were significantly associated with rectal bleeding across conventional fractionation, hypofractionation, and extreme hypofractionation when using BED and EQD2 transformations.

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