Tissue spacers reduce risk of rectal injury for prostate cancer patients

Injecting a tissue spacer in the prostate-rectal inter-space is an effective way to reduce the rectal dose for prostate cancer patients receiving radiation therapy, according to research presented April 30, 2011, at the Cancer Imaging and Radiation Therapy Symposium in Atlanta. This symposium is sponsored by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Even though prostate cancer is cured in over 90 percent of patients, reducing side effects from treatment complications remains a top concern. Damaging the rectum during treatment is a more common side effect, so researchers sought to determine if inserting an injectable tissue spacer would reduce the risks of radiation burns to the rectum.

In this study, 34 prostate patients were administered a tissue spacer compound, in addition to the they were receiving, to increase the separation between the prostate and the rectum. Patients were imaged via MRI pre-injection, post-injection and every two weeks until the end of treatment to monitor any changes. Researchers found that the spacer generated an additional 1 cm on average separation between the prostate and rectum resulting in a significant reduction in the rectal dose administered and causing very little damage to the rectum.

By injecting an absorbable material into the rectum, severe rectal radiation burns, the most serious risk of injury from the radiation, were essentially eliminated. This enables the radiation oncologist to increase the dose to the posterior prostate without concern of damaging the rectum.

"Removing rectal injury from the treatment essentially makes radiation therapy the treatment of choice for ," Kenneth Tokita, MD, senior author of the study and the founder and medical director of Cancer Center of Irvine in Irvine, Calif, said. "The ability to reach almost perfect cure rates and minimal injury is the dream of all cancer specialists. We are now wondering where else this may benefit cancer patients in radiation therapy treatments."

More information: The abstract, "The Use of Injectable Tissue Spacer in Conjunction With Adaptive Radiotherapy for Prostate Cancer," will be presented at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time on April 30, 2011.

Related Stories

Radiation therapy combo cures prostate cancer long-term

date Jan 04, 2007

Seventy-four percent of men treated with a combination of radiation seed implants and external beam radiation therapy for prostate cancer are cured of their disease 15 years following their treatment, according to a study ...

Recommended for you

DNA blood test detects lung cancer mutations

date 15 hours ago

Cancer DNA circulating in the bloodstream of lung cancer patients can provide doctors with vital mutation information that can help optimise treatment when tumour tissue is not available, an international group of researchers ...

Tumors prefer the easy way out

date 17 hours ago

Tumor cells become lethal when they spread. Blocking this process can be a powerful way to stop cancer. Historically, scientists thought that tumor cells migrated by brute force, actively pushing through whatever ...

Brain tumors may be new targets of Ebola-like virus

date 17 hours ago

Brain tumors are notoriously difficult for most drugs to reach, but Yale researchers have found a promising but unlikely new ally against brain cancers—portions of a deadly virus similar to Ebola.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.