Regenerative technology to restore and preserve erectile function in men following prostate cancer treatment: evidence for penile rehabilitation in the context of prostate cancer survivorship

Eric Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Erectile dysfunction (ED) following prostate cancer treatment is not uncommon and penile rehabilitation is considered the standard of care in prostate cancer survivorship (PCS), where both patient and his partner desire to maintain and/or recover pre-treatment erectile function (EF). There is a clinical interest in the role of regenerative therapy to restore EF, since existing ED treatments do not always achieve adequate results.

Aim: To review regenerative therapies for the treatment of ED in the context of PCS.

Materials and Methods: A review of the existing PubMed literature on low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy (LIESWT), stem cell therapy (SCT), platelet-rich plasma (PRP), gene therapy, and nerve graft/neurorrhaphy in the treatment of ED and penile rehabilitation, was undertaken.

Results: IESWT promotes neovascularization and neuroprotection in men with ED. While several systematic reviews and meta-analyses showed positive benefits, there is limited published clinical data in men following radical prostatectomy. Cellular-based technology such as SCT and PRP promotes cellular proliferation and the secretion of various growth factors to repair damaged tissues, especially in preclinical studies. However, longer-term clinical outcomes and concerns regarding bioethical and regulatory frameworks need to be addressed. Data on gene therapy in post-prostatectomy ED men are lacking; further clinical studies are required to investigate the optimal use of growth factors and the safest vector delivery system. Conceptually interpositional cavernous nerve grafting and penile re-innervation technique using a somatic-to-autonomic neurorrhaphy are attractive, but issues relating to surgical technique and potential for neural 'regeneration' are questionable.

Conclusion: In contrast to the existing treatment regime, regenerative ED technology aspires to promote endothelial revascularization and neuro-regeneration. Nevertheless, there remain considerable issues related to these regenerative technologies and techniques, with limited data on longer-term efficacy and safety records. Further research is necessary to define the role of these alternative therapies in the treatment of ED in the context of penile rehabilitation and PCS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Urology
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • ejaculation
  • erectile dysfunction
  • erectile function
  • orgasm
  • salvage radiation therapy
  • salvage radical prostatectomy
  • sexual desire
  • sexual function
  • sexual rehabilitation
  • sexuality


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