New approach may help treat patients whose breast cancer spread to spines

February 23rd, 2009 - 2:15 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 23 (ANI): Researchers from University of California, Irvine, have suggested a new approach that may offer a safer and more convenient treatment for patients whose breast cancer spread to their spines.

The team led by orthopaedic researcher Joyce Keyak has found that injecting radioactive bone cement into the vertebral body may help thwart cancer metastases to spine.

With further development, this technology may yield a clinically feasible procedure that would eliminate the need for 10 radiation therapy sessions, making it more convenient for the patient, said Dr. Keyak.

This procedure would also deliver a higher dose to the bone metastases and a lower dose to the spinal cord and other normal tissues than conventional external beam radiation therapy, potentially improving the clinical outcome.

The negligible dose to the spinal cord would also make it possible to treat recurrent spinal tumours in patients who have already received the maximum allowable radiation dose to the spinal cord, she added.

Almost 75 percent of the patients whose breast cancer metastasizes develop spine tumours.

The new therapy would combine the two treatment phases - currently used - into one procedure by mixing a radioactive compound with the injected cement.

A single procedure using this radioactive bone cement would provide structural reinforcement to the bone, while simultaneously irradiating the tumour from within, i.e., vertebral brachytherapy.

The results showed that a therapeutic dose of radiation would reach the intended bone without undue risk to tissue beyond a certain range.

The study has been published in the journal Spine. (ANI)

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