NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – The results of small study suggests that radiotherapy can be safely used to treat prostate cancer in HIV-infected men, having no long-term effect on CD4+ cell count or viral load.

When considering radiotherapy for prostate cancer, there is no reason that HIV-infected patients should be treated differently than their HIV-negative peers, senior author Dr. Anthony M. Berson, from St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York, and colleagues conclude.

The study, reported in the November issue of Urology, included 14 HIV-infected patients with prostate cancer who were treated with external beam radiotherapy, brachytherapy, or both. PSA level, CD4+ cell count, and viral load were assessed at baseline and again at latest follow-up, which ranged from 8 to 73 months.

During follow-up, only one patient had a PSA level that was still above 1.1 ng/mL, the report indicates.

The average CD4+ cell count rose slightly during follow-up from 523 to 577 cells/microliter. The lowest final count was 200 cells/microliter, the investigators note. Only two patients experienced an increase in viral load.

Radiotherapy was not associated with any unusual urinary, rectal, or sexual complications and no infections were seen in the study group, Dr. Berson’s team states.

The researchers call for larger studies to definitively assess morbidity and mortality for HIV-infected patients treated for prostate cancer.

Urology 2008;72:1135-1138.