+ -Text Size

News » Filed under: Prostate Cancer

Study: Cialis (Tadalafil) Does Not Prevent Erectile Dysfunction in Prostate Cancer Patients

Article date: April 4, 2014

By Stacy Simon

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic and colleagues across the United States and Canada have found that Cialis (tadalafil) does not help men avoid erectile dysfunction after radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Erection problems are common in men who’ve been treated for prostate cancer, and the rates reported in the medical literature vary widely. According to background information in the study published in the April 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, about 40% of men report erectile dysfunction after radiation therapy.

One way that radiation affects erections is by damaging the arteries that carry blood to the penis. As the treated area heals, the blood vessels lose their ability to stretch due to scar tissue in and around the vessels. They can no longer expand as much as is necessary to let in enough blood for an erection. Radiation may also affect the nerves that control a man’s ability to have an erection.

Cialis is a pill that works by increasing blood to flow to the penis. It is sometimes prescribed to men with erectile dysfunction after radiation treatment, but the researchers wanted to find out whether taking Cialis once a day could prevent erectile dysfunction from occurring if it was begun when radiation started.

They randomly assigned 242 patients with early stage prostate cancer to receive daily doses of Cialis or a placebo (sugar pill). The men started the drug within a week of starting radiation and continued for 24 weeks. They found that between 28 and 30 weeks after the start of radiation therapy, 79% of those taking Cialis were able to maintain erectile function compared with 74% of those taking the placebo – not a significant difference. After a year, 72% of men who took Cialis and 71% of those who took the placebo were able to maintain an erection. Overall, Cialis was not associated with improvement in overall sexual function and the partners of men who took Cialis in the study did not report a significant effect on sexual satisfaction.

The authors concluded that taking Cialis every day does not prevent erectile dysfunction in prostate cancer patients being treated with radiation, and other strategies should be explored. This may include different dosing, further refinements of radiation delivery methods, and other treatments that are available to help with erection problems.

Citation: Tadalafil for Prevention of Erectile Dysfunction After Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer. Published in the April 2, 2014 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. First author Thomas M. Pisansky, MD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minn.

Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff


ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases. For reprint requests, please contact permissionrequest@cancer.org.

Was this article helpful?

If you have a question or comment that requires a response from us, please use the form location on the Contact Us page.

Thank you for your feedback.