Treatment for metastatic prostate cancer is a serious problem because the tumor has metastasized. There can be many of them, as a result of which it is impossible to identify and remove them all. Therefore, the basis of treatment for stage 4 cancer is systemic therapy. It involves the injection of drugs into the body that are distributed throughout the body and inhibit tumor growth. In standard cases, treatment includes hormone therapy and chemotherapy. Over time, these methods lose their effectiveness, and in such cases, Lutetium PSMA therapy comes to the rescue. This therapy can quickly shrink tumors, and in some patients, it may even lead to their complete disappearance.
What is radiotargeted therapy for cancer?
Radiotargeted therapy is a targeted therapy that involves the destruction of cancer cells with radiation. The source of radiation is not outside the body, as it is in the case of external beam radiation therapy, but inside the body. At the same time, radiotargeted therapy does not irradiate the entire body but only the tumor because it selectively accumulates in cancer cells.
Various radioactive substances can be used as radionuclides. They give beta radiation, as in Lutetium therapy, or alpha radiation, as in Actinium targeted alpha therapy. Radioactive substances selectively accumulate in the tumor as they bind to ligands that bind to PSMA, a prostate-specific membrane antigen. It is found in large quantities only in cancer cells. Healthy tissues do not contain PSMA at all, or their concentration is thousands of times lower.
Lutetium treatment for cancer thus:
- works throughout the body;
- accumulates only in cancer cells;
- quickly shrinks tumors;
- is excreted from the body three to four days after the injection.
How safe is PSMA therapy?
With high efficacy, Lutetium treatment also has low toxicity. It does not cause any severe side effects in most patients and has a minimum of contraindications.
Of course, no prostate cancer treatment can be called 100% safe. However, compared to chemotherapy, radiotargeted therapy is much better tolerated by patients. The most common side effect is dry mouth because the salivary glands contain small amounts of PSMA and can be affected by radiation. During treatment, doctors cool the patient’s salivary glands to lower the risk of side effects.
A small amount of PSMA is also found in the kidneys. They are usually not severely damaged, but just in case, doctors evaluate their function with blood tests before each course of PSMA therapy for metastatic cancer treatment. Before the injection of the radiopharmaceutical, patients receive an intravenous infusion of crystalloid solutions to protect the kidneys.
How effective is PSMA therapy?
Lutetium treatment produces at least a partial response in most patients. Moreover, for many, it is fixed after the first injection of the radiopharmaceutical. A partial response means that the total diameter of the tumors in the body has shrunk by more than 30%.
PSMA therapy includes several injections of a radiopharmaceutical agent, which are given with a break of 4-8 weeks. After several injections, some patients achieve a complete response. This means that no tumor can be detected by imaging diagnostics any more. The neoplasm may recur in the future, but in some patients, the tumors that disappeared did not appear for many years, and the pathology did not return by the end of the follow-up period. The authors of studies on the effectiveness of Lutetium-177 PSMA therapy conclude that some patients can be cured using this method, despite the fact that at the time of the start of treatment, the disease had reached stage 4, previously considered incurable.
You are welcome to visit the Booking Health website if you want to know the Lutetium-177 treatment cost and undergo therapy using this technique. On the website, you will see a list of medical centers that provide radiotargeted therapy for prostate cancer. On the website, you can also find out the real prices of procedures and operations at different hospitals and book treatment for your preferred dates.