Radiation for Advanced Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer treatment using radium 223 chloride shows longer survival

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Metastasis of an aggressive cancer is difficult to treat, especially when the cancer is already resistant to most therapies, as in castration-resistant prostate cancer.

During the annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine, a group of scientists presented their successful research on a new type of radiation treatment using radium-223 chloride for bone metastasis in advanced prostate cancer.

"Ask your oncologist about alpha radiation."

Many treatments have been tried in the past, but the study showed that the short-ranged alpha radiation in radium-223 chloride was strong enough to make progress in destroying the cancer sites. The treatment was shown to extend a patient's life by three months. 

First author of the study, Valerie Lewington, MBBS, teaches nuclear medicine at King's College in London. During the presentation, she spoke about the successful completion of the phase III trial.

"This is a pivotal study of a new treatment that potentially offers a better standard of care for patients with advanced prostate cancer," stated Dr. Lewington.

"Radium-223 offers a completely new approach to the treatment of bone metastases. It systemically treats multiple sites of disease simultaneously and is usually very well tolerated. Serious side effects are unusual, and the risk of bone marrow suppression is low even in patients who have been heavily pretreated with chemotherapy."

When contacted by dailyRX for comment, E. David Crawford, MD, a professor of surgery, radiation oncology and urology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences, in Denver, emphasized the novelty of the real gains in survival observed during the study.

"This is the first study to show a survival benefit with a drug in the class, and will undoubtedly improve our management of men with advanced prostate cancer. It will also form a foundation for combination therapy with some of these newer androgen biosynthesis inhibitors as well as the new super anti-androgens."

The study followed 922 patients with multiple confirmed bone metastasis from castration-resistant prostate cancer, 307 were given the current standard of care as a control for the study.

Results showed that survival was an average of 14 months compared to 11.2 months, with researchers stating the frequency of toxic effects was very low.

Roughly 2 percent of patients in the study experienced immune system suppression.

The researchers have announced plans to begin the formal U.S.Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process before the fourth quarter of 2012.

Research presented at conferences is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

No financial conflicts of interests were made public.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 14, 2012
Last Updated:
September 27, 2012