Cancer treatment with Lutetium-177 PSMA

In the advanced stage of prostate cancer, when the disease is considered incurable, systemic methods are used for treatment. They affect not only the primary tumor, but also metastases. Systemic treatment for prostate cancer usually begins with hormonal therapy, and when its effectiveness decreases, the doctors switch to chemotherapy. The specialists abroad also use an innovative treatment method: Lutetium-177 PSMA therapy. It quickly destroys metastases in the body, being well tolerated and rarely causing severe complications.

What is Lutetium-177

Lutetium is used in medicine as a source of radiation. It can destroy malignant tumors. Lutetium-177 emits short beta-radiation. It is powerful enough to destroy cancer cells. At the same time, it extends only 1 mm, so it acts only in the area of ​​​​accumulation, without damaging the surrounding tissues.

Another cause of the wide use of Lutetium in medicine is that its effective half-life is 2 days. The radionuclide is quickly excreted from the body. Therefore, after the administration of the drug, a person does not have to stay in the hospital for a long time. A patient is discharged in 3-4 days.

What is PSMA therapy

Lutetium-177 PSMA therapy is used for metastatic prostate cancer. It works even in cases where hormonal therapy and chemotherapy are not effective enough, and can no longer control the disease.

Radioligand treatment of cancer with Lutetium-177 refers to systemic treatment methods. This means that the doctor does not need to look for every metastatic tumor in the body. He uses a drug that detects and destroys all tumor foci.

How does it work? Why does a radionuclide agent injected into a vein accumulate only in the tumor? This is possible due to the use of ligands – molecules that target the prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA). They deliver the radionuclide to the tumor. PSMA is produced in prostate cells, mainly in the malignant ones. Healthy tissues do not contain PSMA, so the radiopharmaceutical does not accumulate in them.

How is the treatment carried out

Lutetium for prostate cancer is injected intravenously, once every 8 weeks. Before injection, the patient undergoes examination. Doctors use PSMA PET-CT to assess the number and location of tumor foci, as well as whether they accumulate the radioactive material. A person undergoes general clinical tests to make sure that there are no contraindications for cancer treatment using radiotargeted therapy.

The drug is administered intravenously, slowly, during about 20 minutes. Doctors cool the patient’s salivary glands to reduce blood flow, as there is a small amount of PSMA in the salivary glands. Additional precautions reduce the risk of damage to them with dry mouth development. In addition, patients receive infusions of crystalloid solutions to protect the kidneys.

After the injection of the drug, a person spends several days in an individual patient room. On the fourth day he is discharged from the hospital. PET-CT is performed after every 2 cycles of treatment, in order to assess the effectiveness.

Advantages of the method

Treatment with Lutetium-177 PSMA has a number of benefits, namely:

  • It works in cases, where only symptomatic treatment is an alternative
  • It quickly reduces tumor size, and in some patients metastases disappear completely
  • Long-term survival rate of patients is improved: with the help of radiotargeted therapy, the disease can be controlled for many years even after hormone therapy has stopped working
  • The treatment is well tolerated

To undergo Lutetium-177 PSMA therapy in one of the best clinics in Germany, you are welcome to use the Booking Health services. On our website, you can compare the cost of Lutetium treatment in different hospitals and book a medical care program at a favorable price. Our experts will help you select the best clinic, doctor, and take care of organizing treatment abroad.

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