More than ninety percent of men who receive appropriate radiation dose levels with permanent radiation seed implants to treat their prostate cancer are cured of their cancer eight years after diagnosis, according to a study released in the February 1 issue of the International Journal for Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of ASTRO.
Seed implants have become a widely-accepted treatment option for early stage prostate cancer because it is very effective at curing the cancer, is minimally invasive and often spares patients from side effects of other treatments, such as impotence and incontinence. The seeds, similar in size to a grain of rice, contain a radiation dose that, once implanted, delivers concentrated radiation to the prostate, sparing surrounding organs and tissue.
Doctors in this study evaluated the long-term results of permanent seed implants in men with early stage prostate cancer. Nearly 2,700 men were studied at 11 institutions in the United States over eight years. The radioactive seeds were administered with the aid of ultrasound-guided techniques to accurately place the seeds in the prostate gland. The patients received the seed implants as the sole treatment for prostate cancer with no additional chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
"This study is exciting because it shows that brachytherapy alone without additional surgery, radiation or drugs can be effective at curing early-stage prostate cancer," said Michael J. Zelefsky, M.D., lead author of the study and Chief of Brachytherapy Services at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. "These results also confirm other findings that the quality of the seed implant is a critical ingredient for achieving a better outcome."