Efficacy of a Hydrogel Spacer in Three-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer


We aimed to compare the dose constraints fulfillment rate of the three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy treatment plan before and after a hydrogel spacer insertion.


The planning computed tomography scans of 39 patients who received stereotactic body radiotherapy for prostate cancer were used. All patients inserted a hydrogel spacer and underwent computed tomography scans before and after spacer insertion. The three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy plans according to NCCN classification, low-, intermediate- and high-risk, were made for each patient. Clinical target volume included prostate and seminal vesicle 2 cm for high risk, prostate and seminal vesicle 1 cm for intermediate risk and prostate only for low risk. Three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy including a seven-field conformal technique with 76 Gy in 38 fractions. Dose constraints for rectum and bladder were V70 Gy ≤ 15%, V65 Gy ≤ 30% and V40 Gy ≤ 60%.


Among 39 patients, 35 (90%), 19 (49%) and 13 (33%) and 38 (97%), 38 (97%) and 34 (87%) patients before and after the spacer insertion fulfilled rectum dose constraints for low-, intermediate- and high-risk plans, respectively. A hydrogel spacer significantly reduced rectum dose and improved the rectum dose constraints fulfillment rate in intermediate (P < 0.01) and high (P < 0.01), but no difference was found in low-risk plan (P = 0.25). On multivariate analysis, spacer use was associated with the higher rectum dose constraints fulfillment rate.


A hydrogel spacer reduced rectum dose and improved the dose constraints fulfillment rate in three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy plan. Although IMRT is the standard treatment, 3D-CRT using a hydrogel spacer may be a treatment option.