Thursday, August 22, 2013

New Radiation Treatment for Prostate Cancer Reduces Bone Pain, Extends Survival Rates

MAYWOOD, Ill.  – Prostate cancer that has spread to the bones can cause pain and fractures.

Loyola University Medical Center is among the first hospitals in Chicago to offer a new targeted radiation treatment that can reduce bone pain and the incidence of fractures – and also extend patients’ lives.

The treatment, recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, is called Xofigo®.  A radioactive substance, radium-223, is injected into the patient. Because it is similar to calcium, radium-223 binds to the bone. Radium-223 delivers high-energy radiation over a short distance, providing a targeted treatment that is less damaging to other structures or tissues, said Robert Wagner, MD, medical director of Nuclear Medicine in Loyola’s Department of Radiology.

Radium-223 is rapidly cleared from the bloodstream. Fifteen minutes after injection, about 20 percent of the injected radioactivity remains in the blood. By 24 hours, less than 1 percent of radioactivity remains.

Xofigo is recommended for prostate cancer patients in which:

  • The cancer has spread to the bones but not to other organs
  • The cancer is not responding to hormone therapy or surgery that blocks production of testosterone
  • The cancer that has spread to the bones is causing other serious symptoms

Radium-223 is injected into an IV line in a patient’s vein in a procedure that takes less than five minutes. The patient receives a series of six injections, given once every four to six weeks.

Side effects can include upset stomach, diarrhea, swelling in the hands and feet and decreased counts of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

“While the treatment is not a cure, it can enable patients to live longer, with significantly improved quality of life,” Wagner said.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.