Effect of Radiation Therapy Timing on Lifespan of Artificial Urinary Sphincters in Prostate Cancer Survivors

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Researchers have shown that adjuvant radiation therapy rather than salvage radiation therapy may improve the function of artificial urinary sphincters for stress urinary incontinence in patients who have undergone surgery for prostate cancer, according to new findings presented by Gaines et al at the American Urological Association (AUA) Annual Meeting 2024 (Abstract MP03-11).


Artificial urinary sphincters are devices implanted in some patients with prostate cancer to supplement the function of a natural urinary sphincter—which restricts urine flow out of the bladder.

“Although radiation history is recognized as a significant risk factor for adverse outcomes following artificial urinary sphincter implantation, the procedure remains the gold standard for male patients with stress urinary incontinence,” emphasized senior study author Jay Simhan, MD, FACS, Vice Chair of the Department of Urology at Fox Chase Cancer Center. “There is still little data, however, on the timing of radiation therapy in relation to outcomes after device implantation,” he added.

Study Methods and Results

In the new multicenter retrospective study, the researchers analyzed the outcomes of 221 patients with prostate cancer who underwent adjuvant or salvage radiation therapy and artificial urinary sphincter implantation for stress urinary incontinence—with the goal of determining the significance of radiation therapy timing in preserving the devices.

The researchers discovered that artificial urinary sphincters survived a shorter amount of time in prostate cancer survivors who received salvage radiation therapy compared with those who had a history of adjuvant radiation therapy.


“The recent study underscores the critical importance of radiation therapy timing in the management of stress urinary incontinence for prostate cancer survivors. These findings highlight a crucial consideration for patient treatment planning and call for a nuanced approach in clinical decision-making to optimize outcomes and improve quality of life for affected [patients],” Dr. Simhan underscored. “This acknowledgment highlights the collaborative effort of our team to push the boundaries of medical science. [We are] grateful for the opportunity to contribute to our understanding of treatment outcomes and remain dedicated to improving surgical care for prostate cancer survivors,” he concluded.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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