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Korean J Urol. 2012 Nov;53(11):743-9. doi: 10.4111/kju.2012.53.11.743. Epub 2012 Nov 14.

Current status of brachytherapy for prostate cancer.

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1
Department of Urology, Bundang CHA Hospital, CHA University College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea.

Abstract

Brachytherapy was developed to treat prostate cancer 50 years ago. Current advanced techniques using transrectal ultrasonography were established 25 years ago. Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) has enabled the prostate to be viewed with improved resolution with the use of modern ultrasound machines. Moreover, the development of software that can provide images captured in real time has improved treatment outcomes. Other new radiologic imaging technologies or a combination of magnetic resonance and TRUS could be applied to brachytherapy in the future. The therapeutic value of brachytherapy for early-stage prostate cancer is comparable to that of radical prostatectomy in long-term follow-up. Nevertheless, widespread application of brachytherapy cannot be achieved for several reasons. The treatment outcome of brachytherapy varies according to the skill of the operator and differences in patient selection. Currently, only three radioactive isotopes are available for use in low dose rate prostate brachytherapy: I-125, Pd-103, and Cs-131; therefore, more isotopes should be developed. High dose rate brachytherapy using Ir-192 combined with external beam radiation, which is needed to verify the long-term effects, has been widely applied in high-risk patient groups. Recently, tumor-selective therapy or focal therapy using brachytherapy, which is not possible by surgical extraction, has been developed to maintain the quality of life in selected cases. However, this new application for prostate cancer treatment should be performed cautiously because we do not know the oncological outcome, and it would be an interim treatment method. This technique might evolve into a hybrid of whole-gland treatment and focal therapy.

KEYWORDS:

Brachytherapy; Neoplasms; Prostate

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