Prostate cancer is a common male oncological disease experienced by men. Prostate cancer can be treated in the early stages. However, on condition of distant metastases life prognosis becomes unfavorable. But, the development of medicine forges ahead. A new drug called Lutetium 177-PSMA was introduced for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer. It helps to considerably prolong a patient’s life.
LU-177-PSMA-therapy stands for Lutetium 177 prostate‐specific membrane antigen radionuclide therapy. Thus, the membrane antigen selectively binds with cancer cells. Lutetium 177 (Lu177) radionuclide is attached to this substance which is a beta emitter.
After the introduction of radiolucent labeled PSMA into the human body, it binds only with the cells of the prostate gland malignant neoplasm. Since beta radiation extends a short distance (several millimeters), healthy tissues are not irradiated. After the course of PSMA therapy, cancer cells die, and the tumor size is significantly reduced.
Key point of this technique is that the drug kills not only the primary tumor in the prostate gland, but daughter tumors as well thanks to the selective binding.
Goals of treatment
The technique, using nucleotides labeled PSMA, is used to diagnose and treat men’s prostate cancer. Diagnosis involves the use of scintigraphy, which includes scanning the body and recording the beta radiation of the tumor formation region.
Also, the technique is used for a therapeutic purpose, when the death of cancer cells occurs after a course of therapy with a radiopharmaceutical.
PSMA, labeled with a radionuclide, is a compound that can lead to the development of an allergic reaction. Therefore, a test for hypersensitivity is mandatory before its intravenous administration during the main course of therapy or during diagnostic scintigraphy.
Also, preparatory measures include visualizing the tumor, which includes scintigraphy, computer, magnetic resonance imaging, and ultrasound. These methods determine the size, location of malignant neoplasm and its metastases.
The radiopharmaceutical used to perform PSMA therapy is excreted by the liver and kidneys, therefore, general clinical studies are carried out before its use, including a clinical analysis of urine, blood, and a biochemical blood test. Clinical studies help a doctor to assess the degree of possible risk associated with the influence of the radiopharmaceutical on the liver and kidneys. During the treatment course, these studies can be administered to the patient several times to monitor the functional state of the organism.
A diet is prescribed with the exception of fatty, fried foods, and also alcohol a few days before the start of the treatment course.
How does the procedure work?
The specialist intravenously introduces a radiopharmaceutical on an inpatient basis after all the preparatory measures. The drug flows through the body and binds with the cells of the malignant neoplasm and its metastases within a certain period of time, providing the necessary therapeutic effect.
Procedure is usually carried out several times. A patient is under the supervision of the attending physician at all times. Kidneys and salivary glands are cooled down before each procedure for their safety. Side effects, if any, are blocked with the medication.
The duration of PSMA therapy may vary, depending on the stage of prostate cancer. The end of treatment is determined by the results of the control study, including scintigraphy with the labeled radionuclide PSMA. The average length of stay in a medical hospital is 3-4 days.
The attending physician prescribes a follow-up study after the course of PSMA therapy, which necessarily includes scintigraphy. Based on his results, he decides on the completion of treatment and the possibility of discharging the patient from a hospital.
A positive result, indicated by the effectiveness of the PSMA-therapy, is the absence of malignant neoplasm foci in the prostate gland, as well as in other areas of the body where metastases may develop.
PSMA therapy has many advantages over other metastatic prostate cancer treatment techniques, primarily with chemotherapy.
Among them are:
- Selective action on atypical cells (healthy tissues are almost not irradiated)
- The possibility of destruction of metastases in any part of the body
- Good tolerance of therapy
- Absence of irreversible side effects
PSMA therapy is usually used when chemotherapy fails to give results, or if the patient refuses it because of poor tolerance to the treatment.
Where to undergo a PSMA-therapy course?
Prostate cancer with metastases treatment by Lutetium 177 can be done in Germany, at the University Hospitals.
Here are some health facilities that provide appropriate medical services:
- University Hospital Saarland Homburg. With 30 specialized departments and institutes, it is the leading hospital in Germany. The Department of Nuclear Medicine is widely known outside the country. The doctors of the department use the very latest treatment methods and successfully conduct PSMA therapy.
- Aachen University Hospital is one of the 2017’s best German hospitals according to FOCUS MAGAZINE’s ranking. With 25 institutes, 5 interdisciplinary departments and 34 clinics; PSMA therapy and scintigraphy is carried out in the department of nuclear medicine.
- Würzburg University Hospital has a branch of nuclear medicine for 14 hospital places. Every year 1,300 patients are treated here, 200 of them are for malignant tumors. The clinic uses the latest methods of oncopathological treatment, including the PSMA-therapy.
Arrangement of prostate cancer treatment in Germany
Patients wishing to benefit from the latest medical advances and receive quality treatment for prostate cancer using lutetium 177 can find a suitable clinic using BookingHealth’s service. On this website you can see all therapeutic programs with their current prices.
When organizing treatment in Germany with the help of BookingHealth you get a number of advantages, namely:
- Coverage against unforeseen medical events. Initially, the agreed cost of treatment is guaranteed not to increase, even in the case of complications should you require emergency medical care.
- Complete service package. We are fully responsible for arranging your treatment in Germany. We will liaise with the hospital authorities, help to obtain a visa, book a hotel and flight tickets. Our agent will meet you at the airport and take you to the medical facility where you will have therapy.
- Saving funds. You will not need to buy additional insurance, look for an interpreter and pay for his services. We are going to help with choosing a treatment course at the best price. That is why BookingHealth’s clients save up to 70% of the general program cost.
Leave a request on our website to use our services and we will contact you within several hours.
Choose treatment abroad and you will get the best results for sure!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova