Invasive methods unnecessary for prostate cancer radiation therapy treatment planning

May 20, 2008

Modern 3-D computed tomography (CT) is an effective method for locating the prostatic apex for radiation therapy treatment planning in prostate cancer patients because it eliminates the need for an invasive procedure and the related side effects, according to a study in the May 1 issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics.

Retrograde urethrography, which involves inserting a catheter into the male urethra to inject contrast, is the standard method used to identify the area of the prostate to be treated with radiation. However, this method is invasive and uncomfortable for patients and comes with risks of side effects, such as urethral injury and infection, as well as additional costs.

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio departments of Radiation Oncology and Urology conducted this study to determine if knowledge of the anatomic relationships of the prostatic base and the prostatic apex along with modern 3-D CT planning, could be used as a substitute for retrograde urethrography.

Fifteen patients underwent a CT simulation both with and without bladder, urethral and rectal contrast. The prostatic base and apex were identified easily and consistently on both scans by taking a side view of the patient and drawing a line from the pubic bone straight down to the floor of the pelvis. The process was repeated and confirmed in another 57 patients, leading researchers to determine that it is not necessary to subject a patient to a urinary catheter for contrast delivery.

“By using CT scans to find the prostatic apex, patients are happier and we have the same results,” said Gregory Swanson, M.D., associate professor of radiation oncology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and one of the study’s authors. “I stopped doing contrast in 1995 or 1996 when I realized that I knew where the prostate was without using invasive methods. I have been successful in using CT since then.”

Source: American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology

Explore further: Increased risk for head, neck cancers in patients with diabetes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

First in-situ images of void collapse in explosives

1 hour ago

While creating the first-ever images of explosives using an x-ray free electron laser in California, Los Alamos researchers and collaborators demonstrated a crucial diagnostic for studying how voids affect ...

NASA maps Typhoon Matmo's Taiwan deluge

1 hour ago

When Typhoon Matmo crossed over the island nation of Taiwan it left tremendous amounts of rainfall in its wake. NASA used data from the TRMM satellite to calculate just how much rain fell over the nation.

Recommended for you

Is Europe putting cancer research at risk?

3 hours ago

The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), the leading pan-European association representing medical oncology professionals, has expressed concern that the proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation could make ...

Ascertaining low-dose radiation impact on the heart

3 hours ago

We are all exposed to radiations. Such exposure can be harmless at very low doses but damage our health above certain thresholds. But what happens in between is more difficult to predict. The PROCARDIO project is casting ...

User comments : 0