In patients with prostate cancer who have a high risk of pelvic nodal disease, the use of elective whole pelvis radiotherapy is still controversial. Two large, randomised, controlled trials (RTOG 9413 and GETUG-01) did not show a benefit of elective whole pelvis radiotherapy over prostate-only radiotherapy. In 2020, the POP-RT trial established the role of elective whole pelvis radiotherapy in patients who have more than a 35% risk of lymph node invasion (known as the Roach formula). POP-RT stressed the importance of patient selection. In patients with cN1 (clinically node positive) disease or pN1 (pathologically node positive) disease, the addition of whole pelvis radiotherapy to androgen deprivation therapy significantly improved survival compared with androgen deprivation therapy alone, as shown in large, retrospective studies. This patient population might increase in the future because use of the more sensitive prostate-specific membrane antigen PET–CT will become the standard staging procedure. Additionally, the SPORTT trial suggested a benefit of whole pelvis radiotherapy in biochemical recurrence-free survival in the salvage setting. A correct definition of the upper field border, which should include the bifurcation of the abdominal aorta, is key in the use of pelvic radiotherapy. As a result of using modern radiotherapy technology, severe late urinary and intestinal toxic effects are rare and do not seem to increase compared with prostate-only radiotherapy.
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