A promising step forward in prostate cancer treatment

When treating prostate cancer with radiotherapy, knowing the prostate cancer position is critical to accurately targeting the radiation beam to avoid missing the tumour and irradiating healthy tissue. Prostate cancer patients being treated with radiotherapy can now have their prostate position known to within 0.5mm during radiation treatment thanks to a study led by Professor Paul Keall, NHMRC Australia Fellow at the University of Sydney.

In a world-first the new tracking system has been implemented in a 10-patient at the Royal North Shore Hospital. The technique termed 'KIM' for Kilovoltage Intrafraction Monitoring uses X-rays during the to measure the position of markers implanted into the prostate though a novel two-dimension-to-three dimension calculation method.

The system was originally conceived at Stanford University in 2008 by two of the investigators of this research, Professor Keall and Associate Professor Per Poulsen, and is a collaboration between the University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital and Aarhus University in Denmark. In the current study, prostate cancer motion of over 10mm was seen during treatment.

The overall accuracy of the system was higher than 0.5mm, better than other dedicated commercial prostate monitoring systems that can be purchased but have not been widely implemented in clinical practice. As well as being more accurate, an additional advantage of the KIM system over the dedicated systems is that it uses readily available radiation therapy equipment, so there is enormous potential for low cost routine use of the system worldwide.

"KIM is exciting for patients because it's going to open up a new area of , real-time tumour tracking," said Dr Thomas Eade, a at the Royal North Shore Hospital. "But, it could potentially be available to all patients that are treated using standard machines."

Using the KIM system X-rays to measure the prostate motion adds a small amount of additional imaging dose delivered to the patient - approximately one percent of the treatment dose in the current studies, though there is potential for improvement. "KIM was implemented within the constraints of an existing clinical cancer radiotherapy system," said Professor Paul Keall. "We have several ideas to explore to make the system even more accurate with lower imaging dose."

In the future, the research team plan to use the KIM information to pause and adjust the treatment when the prostate cancer position moves beyond the target of the . Ultimately, they plan to continuously align the radiation beam with the cancer throughout the treatment.

More information: A paper based on this work has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics.

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 12 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 15 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 15 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.