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: Researchers find chemotherapy after bladder cancer surgery improved survival

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Motor proteins prefer slow, steady movement

30 minutes ago

takes at least two motor proteins to tango, according to Rice University scientists who discovered the workhorses that move cargo in cells are highly sensitive to the proximity of their peers.

Retracing the roots of fungal symbioses

37 minutes ago

With apologies to the poet John Donne, and based on recent work from the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI), a DOE Office of Science user facility, it can be said that no plant is ...

Recommended for you

Deodorant use ok for radiotherapy patients

Feb 27, 2015

Women undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer can use deodorant without fear of increased underarm skin reaction, pain, itching or burning, research suggests.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.