Fitting late rectal bleeding data using different NTCP models: Results from an Italian multi-centric study (AIROPROS0101)

T. Rancati, C. Fiorino, G. Gagliardi, G. M. Cattaneo, G. Sanguineti, V. Casanova Borca, C. Cozzarini, G. Fellin, F. Foppiano, G. Girelli, L. Menegotti, A. Piazzolla, V. Vavassori, R. Valdagni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent investigations demonstrated a significant correlation between rectal dose-volume patterns and late rectal toxicity. The reduction of the DVH to a value expressing the probability of complication would be suitable. To fit different normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) models to clinical outcome on late rectal bleeding after external beam radiotherapy (RT) for prostate cancer. Rectal dose-volume histograms of the rectum (DVH) and clinical records of 547 prostate cancer patients (pts) pooled from five institutions previously collected and analyzed were considered. All patients were treated in supine position with 3 or 4-field techniques: 123 patients received an ICRU dose between 64 and 70 Gy, 255 patients between 70 and 74 Gy and 169 patients between 74 and 79.2 Gy; 457/547 patients were treated with conformal RT and 203/547 underwent radical prostatectomy before RT. Minimum follow-up was 18 months. Patients were considered as bleeders if showing grade 2/3 late bleeding (slightly modified RTOG/EORTC scoring system) within 18 months after the end of RT. Four NTCP models were considered: (a) the Lyman model with DVH reduced to the equivalent uniform dose (LEUD, coincident with the classical Lyman-Kutcher-Burman, LKB, model), (b) logistic with DVH reduced to EUD (LOGEUD), (c) Poisson coupled to EUD reduction scheme and (d) relative seriality (RS). The parameters for the different models were fit to the patient data using a maximum likelihood analysis. The 68% confidence intervals (CI) of each parameter were also derived. Forty six out of five hundred and forty seven patients experienced grade 2/3 late bleeding: 38/46 developed rectal bleeding within 18 months and were then considered as bleeders The risk of rectal bleeding can be well calculated with a 'smooth' function of EUD (with a seriality parameter n equal to 0.23 (CI 0.05), best fit result). Using LEUD the relationship between EUD and NTCP can be described with a TD50 of 81.9 Gy (CI 1.8 Gy) and a steepness parameter m of 0.19 (CI 0.01); when using LOGEUD, TD50 is 82.2 Gy and k is 7.85. Best fit parameters for RS are s=0.49, γ=1.69, TD50=83.1 Gy. Qualitative as well as quantitative comparisons (chi-squared statistics, P=0.005) show that the models fit the observed complication rates very well. The results found in the overall population were substantially confirmed in the subgroup of radically treated patients (LEUD: n=0.24 m=0.14 TD50=75.8 Gy). If considering just the grade 3 bleeders (n=9) the best fit is found in correspondence of a n-value around 0.06, suggesting that for severe bleeding the rectum is more serial. Different NTCP models fit quite accurately the considered clinical data. The results are consistent with a rectum 'less serial' than previously reported investigations when considering grade 2 bleeding while a more serial behaviour was found for severe bleeding. EUD may be considered as a robust and simple parameter correlated with the risk of late rectal bleeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-32
Number of pages12
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2004


  • Dose-volume effects
  • NTCP
  • Prostate radiotherapy
  • Rectal toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Urology


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