Does prophylactic breast irradiation prevent antiandrogen-induced gynecomastia? Evaluation of 253 patients in the randomized Scandinavian trial SPCG-7/SFUO-3

Widmark A, FossÄ SD, Lundmo P, Damber JE, Vaage S, Damber L, Wiklund F, Klepp O

Urology. 2003



To examine the development of antiandrogen-induced gynecomastia and breast tenderness in the first 253 patients in a randomized Scandinavian trial (SPCG-7/SFUO-3) with a 12-month complete follow-up evaluation performed by both doctors and patients.


In this study, the treating doctor and patient decided whether prophylactic irradiation (RT) of the breast should be given to prevent antiandrogen-induced gynecomastia. At each visit, the doctor evaluated the occurrence of gynecomastia and breast tenderness. Questions about gynecomastia and breast tenderness were also included in the study quality-of-life questionnaire (Prostate Cancer Symptom Scale).


Mammary RT with mostly single fraction (12 to 15 Gy) electrons was given to 174 (69%) of the 253 evaluated patients. At the 1-year follow-up visit, the doctor evaluations indicated some form of gynecomastia in 71% and 28% (P <0.001) of the nonirradiated (no-RT) and irradiated (RT) patients, respectively. The patient evaluations at 1 year showed some form of breast enlargement in 78% and 44% (P <0.001) of the no-RT and RT patients, respectively. The doctors reported some form of breast tenderness at 1 year in 75% and 43% (P <0.001) of the no-RT and RT patients, respectively. The patient evaluations of breast tenderness show an expected significant increase in the RT arm at the 3-month follow-up, which was probably due to skin reactions. At 1 year, significantly more patients who marked ”very much” on the Prostate Cancer Symptom Scale were seen in the no-RT group. A weak correlation between the doctors’ and patients’ detection of breast problems was observed.


The results show that, with high significance, prophylactic RT of the breast decreases the risk of antiandrogen-induced gynecomastia and breast tenderness.