Dr. Pradip A. Amin (right) and Dr. Young Kwok examine a
post-implant dosimetric assessment that measures the
effectiveness of the seeds.
When it comes to the treatment of prostate cancer, the
University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer
Center is the region’s leader in non-surgical prostate brachytherapy.
This minimally invasive procedure eradicates cancer cells with
radiation while preserving healthy tissue. Unlike external-beam
radiation therapy, which delivers a high dose of radiation from outside
the body, brachytherapy is a low-energy type of radiation therapy
in which small radioactive devices, called seeds, are permanently
implanted inside the tumor.
“More than 2,000 patients have been treated with prostate brachytherapy
at the University of Maryland. We have a history of success with this treatment,”
Regine, M.D., Isadore and Fannie Schneider Foxman Chair and Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
On average, 60 to 120 seeds are placed in a patient’s prostate
gland and remain there as a permanent implant. The seeds are smaller
than a grain of rice and are made from titanium, the same material
used for orthopaedic joint replacements. The seeds are powerful
and remain radioactive for close to a year. Because the seeds are so
small, they cause little
discomfort and there
is no need to ever
“According to a number of research studies, including analysis of patient
outcomes treated at the University of Maryland, 90 percent of men who were appropriate
candidates for radiation seed therapy remained free from prostate cancer for
at least five years,” says Pradip
A. Amin, M.D., associate professor of radiation oncology at the University
of Maryland School of Medicine.
As part of an academic medical center, the University of
Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center gives
patients access to the most advanced therapies. Right now, there
are two ongoing clinical trials, investigating additional approaches
for aggressively treating prostate cancer. The first looks at combining
taxotere chemotherapy with prostate brachytherapy in an effort
to improve tumor control in men with aggressive cancers who are
at high risk for recurrence. Taxotere is a new drug that is used in
prostate cancer patients when the cancer has spread to other parts
of the body. Studies suggest that it has very high response rates in
prostate cancer and has the ability to enhance the effects of the
The second study involves patients with high-risk
prostate cancer. Researchers are looking at the use of a new
radio-isotope following image-guided pelvic Intensity Modulated
Radiotherapy, adjuvant chemotherapy and hormone therapy.
Advantages of Prostate Brachytherapy:
- Minimally invasive procedure
- Organ preservation
- More accurate and precise radiation
- Ability to target dose to fit the tumor
and avoid healthy tissue
- Side effects, such as impotence and
incontinence, are greatly reduced
- Rapid return to normal activities
For more information on cancer treatments offered at the University
of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, please call 1-800-888-8823.