Background Choice of prostate cancer treatment is frequently influenced by the expected chance of treatment-induced side effects such as erectile dysfunction (ED). However, great discrepancy in cited ED rates exists in the contemporary radiation therapy literature. Aim To analyze the reported ED rates and cause of discrepancies and explore the strengths and limitations in the literature on radiation-induced ED. Methods We performed a PubMed literature search and reviewed the literature on ED rates associated with external-beam radiotherapy and brachytherapy from the past 10 years. Eighteen studies were eligible for inclusion and subsequently reviewed. Outcomes Variables required for interpretation of erectile function outcomes, including patient demographics, treatment characteristics, and sexual function outcomes. Results A large variety in the reported incidence of ED was found among studies. In part, these differences resulted from large variations in (i) study populations, (ii) patient characteristics, (iii) treatment characteristics, (iv) prescription of androgen deprivation therapy, (v) means of data acquisition, (vi) definitions of ED, (vii) temporal considerations, and (viii) erectile aid use. Relevant data required for adequate appraisal of sexual function outcomes were not always reported. Clinical Implications Based on the present findings, we present general recommendations for reporting of erectile function outcomes after radiotherapy for prostate cancer. These should improve future reports. Strengths and Limitations This is the first report that presents general requirements on reporting erectile function outcomes in the setting of radiotherapy for prostate cancer. We did not conduct a formal meta-analysis because we focused on concepts of research design; this might be considered a limitation. Conclusion In this review, we have highlighted the strengths and deficiencies of the current literature on ED after external-beam radiotherapy and brachytherapy for prostate cancer. We have made general recommendations to achieve some degree of standardization among reports and improve clinical interpretability. Wortel RC, Incrocci L, Muhall JP. Reporting Erectile Function Outcomes After Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer: Challenges in Data Interpretation. J Sex Med 2017;14:1260–1269.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Brachytherapy, Erectile Dysfunction, External Beam Radiotherapy, Patient Questionnaires, Research Design
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2017.08.005, hdl.handle.net/1765/108467
Journal Journal of Sexual Medicine: basic research and clinical studies in male and female sexual function and dysfunction
Note no subscription
Citation
Wortel, R.C, Incrocci, L, & Mulhall, J.P. (2017). Reporting Erectile Function Outcomes After Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer: Challenges in Data Interpretation. Journal of Sexual Medicine: basic research and clinical studies in male and female sexual function and dysfunction, 14(10), 1260–1269. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2017.08.005