PRESS RELEASE, 2 February 2017
Docrates is the first oncology center in Finland to offer new radiation therapy for metastatic prostate cancer.
Radioisotopes in the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer
More than 4,700 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in Finland each year. If the cancer has not yet spread at the time of diagnosis, treatment offers a complete cure for the vast majority of patients. Early investigations and treatment are vital for treatment to be successful. Advanced prostate cancer that has spread widely can usually no longer be cured completely and often requires lifelong treatment.
Prostate cancer commonly spreads to the bones and lymph nodes. Treatment for metastatic prostate cancer always includes anti-androgens, also known as chemical castration, as well as chemotherapy. External radiotherapy can also be added to the treatment regimen, provided that the number of metastases is limited. Drug treatments can remain effective for long periods but lose their efficacy over time. In these circumstances, radioactive treatment that targets the bones has been found to be both an effective and safe treatment option. With this type of treatment, the radioactive substance is introduced to the immediate vicinity of the cancer cells or even directly inside the cancer cells themselves. It is also effective in the treatment of prostate cancer with extensive metastases.
Some types of prostate cancer can also spread into the lymph nodes, liver and lungs. If the metastases have spread beyond the bones, a different type of radioactive therapy is required. Docrates is the first Nordic cancer center to offer the Lutetium-177-PSMA treatment* developed by MAP Medical Technologies Oy. The first patients began their treatment in January.
Lu-177-PSMA targets prostate cancer cells regardless of their location and allows radiotherapy to be provided even when the cancer is at an advanced stage. Prior to treatment, we carry out a diagnostic PET scan using Gallium-68-PSMA tracers to ensure that the metastases show Lu-177-PSMA uptake. So far, around 800 patients globally have received this treatment. It is an additional treatment option that is particularly suitable for elderly prostate cancer patients with advancing disease, who can no longer continue chemotherapy due to side effects.
Lu-177-PSMA is a targeted radiotherapy. It is administered intravenously, and patients can usually be discharged on the same day. Our medical team will continue to monitor the patient’s blood count during the treatment cycle. The side effects of the Lutetium-177-PSMA therapy include a dry mouth. We seek to prevent and reduce this by cooling the salivary glands during treatment. The treatment regimen is tailored to the needs of each individual patient and is usually administered 2–6 times over the course of 4–6 weeks.
At Docrates Cancer Center, radionuclide therapy is provided by a multi-disciplinary team, led by Professor Kalevi Kairemo, Chief Physician, Molecular Radiotherapy & Nuclear Medicine.
Docrates Cancer Center is a Finnish-owned, international hospital in Helsinki specializing in cancer treatment. We provide services for cancer patients throughout the treatment chain, from diagnosis to treatment and post-treatment follow-up. After the diagnosis and imaging, treatment can be planned and initiated without delay. Our unique concept attracts patients from all over the world. So far, we have treated patients from over 50 countries and provided treatment for nearly 30 different types of cancer.
(*Lutetium-177-PSMA treatments are currently not available)