Table of Contents
Use of Lutetium-177 in the treatment of cancer patients in Germany
Lutetium-177 has considered a promising therapeutic radionuclide for cancer therapy performing. The technique uses “labeled” antibodies and peptides to deliver the medicine to the affected areas. An innovative treatment method widely used in Germany allows controlling the growth of tumor cells, preventing further spreading of the process, reducing pain and tumor size. PSMA therapy with Lutetium-177 demonstrates the outstanding efficacy in prostate carcinomas treatment.
What are the indications for Lutetium-177 administration?
Radiopharmaceuticals are currently used for the treatment of neuroendocrine tumors that can occur in the stomach, rectum, pancreas, small and large intestine, adrenal glands and thyroid glands. It is also increasingly used in tumors of the meninges, i.e. meningiomas.
Another striking example of radionuclide therapy is the use of Lutetium-177 PSMA in prostate cancer. In recent years, the method has been widely used in the specialized German hospitals, as doctors there has extensive experience of its application.
How does the Lutetium-177 work?
The main condition that makes therapy possible is the presence of a molecular target. The corresponding proteins, i.e. somatostatin receptor or PSMA, must be present on the surface of the tumor cells. This should be checked in advance with the help of scintigraphy or PET-CT. During both methods, a specific substance is introduced into the body. It binds to the receptor and “illuminates” the tumor cell in images received by special devices. If the tumor foci “glow”, then they have the correspondent receptor, and therapy will be effective.
What kind of malignant tumors can be treated with Lutetium-177?
Treatment with Lutetium-177 is especially suitable for patients with the advanced stages of prostate cancer. It can also be applied after the standard treatment methods such as antihormonal therapy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy; when a prostatectomy is impossible or has failed to become curative. PSMA therapy with Lu-177 is also suitable in case when the oncological process is complicated by metastases or not treatable. In addition, 177-Lutetium PSMA is used in tumors that are resistant to hormonal drugs and chemotherapy. Other benefits of this therapy include minor side effects and good tolerability.
The patient is recognized as a suitable candidate for this type of treatment in the following cases:
- If the tumor is advanced
- In metastases presence
- If other treatments do not help
- If the tumor progresses despite the therapy
- If the tumor cannot be removed surgically
What makes Lutetium-177 PSMA therapy work?
A protein that is called a prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is located on the cell’s surface of the prostate gland . With an increase in tumor size, the level of PSMA increases as well. PSMA is also found in other organs if metastases occur. Lutetium-177 PSMA molecule binds specifically to a protein that is located on the surface of the tumor cell. After the molecule placement, the radioactive isotope begins to act and destroy malignant cells. Due to the fact that it does not penetrate deep into the tissues, only a tumor receives a lethal irradiation dose, and the adjacent healthy tissues remain intact.
How is prostate cancer treated with Lutetium?
First of all, the PET-CT is performed. This study reveals metastatic lesions. It also helps to understand whether the patient’s cancer cells can accumulate radionuclides. If not, then treatment with Lutetium is not carried out due to the low expected effectiveness. However, in most patients, the tumor accumulates the radiopharmaceutical well, so they can start therapy. For those patients who want to receive treatment abroad, it will be easier to undergo Lutetium-177 procedure with the help of the unique medical tourism provider Booking Health. The company will provide assistance in arranging all emerging issues, receiving the most favorable cost of treatment and selecting highly qualified specialists.
The treatment is the type of targeted radiation therapy. The drug is administered intravenously and, as a rule, the patient is discharged home on the same day. During treatment, specialists monitor the patient’s blood counts. Therapy can cause dry mouth. To avoid dry mouth during treatment, the salivary glands are cooled. In each case, therapy is selected individually. As a rule, the course of treatment includes 2-6 procedures, depending on the stage of the tumor.