Cesium-131 Brachytherapy May Be Prostate Cancer Game-changer, Study Reports

Cesium-131 Brachytherapy May Be Prostate Cancer Game-changer, Study Reports

About 161,360 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2017, according to the American Cancer Society.

The usual treatment options are radiation or surgery, both of which are costly.

A new brachytherapy isotope, Cesium-131, could be a game-changer, a study indicates. Brachytherapy involves placing radioactive implants, or seeds, directly onto tumors to destroy cancer cells while limiting damage to healthy tissue.

IsoRay Medical markets Cesium-131 brachytherapy seeds. It is not only more cost-effective than other treatments, but also generates fewer side effects, researchers said.

Their study, “Long-Term Quality of Life in Prostate Cancer Patients Treated with Cesium-131,” was published in The International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics.

Scientists have refined brachytherapy many times since its introduction in 1901. Some experts see Cesium-131 as an optimal version because it is both fast-acting and has a shorter delivery time than other brachytherapies — about 30 days.

A key advantage of Cesium-131 is shorter recuperation periods, meaning patients can recover their urinary, bowel, and sexual functions quicker than with other brachytherapy solutions.

The findings suggest that Cesium-131 brachytherapy offers patients an ability to maintain the quality of life they had before treatment better than other options.

“For far too long, patients have been treated for prostate cancer based on a medical professional’s familiarity [with a therapy] or, in some cases, due to far greater financial benefits to the physician,” Brian Moran, medical director of the Chicago Prostate Cancer Center, said in a press release. “This study reinforces that a new, patient-friendly treatment exists. Brachytherapy with Cesium-131 leverages the isotope’s short half-life to significantly reduce the duration of long-term symptoms and side effects.”

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story wrongly reported that IsoRay Medical markets Cesium-131 brachytherapy seeds that it developed as GammaTile. GammaTile is under development by GT Medical Technologies.