Tallahassee, FL – Capital Regional Cancer Center and Capital Regional Medical Center has treated the first patient in Tallahassee with a new FDA-approved radioactive therapeutic drug for advanced metastatic prostate cancer. The patient received a single injection of radium Ra 223 dichloride (brand name Xofigo), the first of six injections. Xofigo has been shown to reduce bone pain, improve quality of life, and help patients live longer.
“Patients with a type of cancer called castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) with metastatic bone disease, who have failed hormone suppression therapy, now have a new treatment option for their disease,” says Timothy Bolek, MD, radiation oncologist and medical director of the Capital Regional Cancer Center. “Radium Ra 223 mimics the behavior of calcium and is attracted to bone. Because of this process, the radium, in a high energy state, kills cancer at the bone level so the bone can heal.”
Bone is the most common site in the body to be affected by metastatic cancer, and bone metastases are particularly prevalent in patients with prostate cancer. Approximately 90 percent of patients with metastatic prostate cancer show evidence of bone metastases, which is the main cause of death in patients with prostate cancer. Up until now, patients with this form of cancer have been treated with chemotherapy, with modest results.
“Radium Ra 223 dichloride has been shown to improve survival rates in patients by 30 percent, while treating symptomatic bone pain throughout the body,” says Bolek, MD, “Instead of a prolonged treatment plan, such as chemotherapy or external beam radiation, patients receive one injection per month for six consecutive months, with very few side effects.”
Experts say Xofigo is the first and only alpha particle-emitting radioactive therapeutic agent approved by the FDA that has demonstrated improvement in overall survival rates. The drug's anti-tumor effect on bone metastases is an important addition to the treatment of this cancer.
“Together, the Capital Regional Cancer Center physicians and Capital Regional Medical Center provide a wealth of expertise and knowledge, along with innovative treatment options and clinical services in prostate cancer,” says Craig Pate, Director of the Cancer Center. “Collaboration between the Cancer Center and the hospital is a key paradigm to benefit our prostate cancer patients and their families, making it possible to get leading-edge treatment at a location easily accessible to the patient.”
Patients who receive radium RA 223 dichloride injections pose no harm to others around them, despite the agent being radioactive. Most insurance companies cover the treatment, which is tolerated well.
The Capital Regional Cancer Center and Capital Regional Medical Center are committed to providing the highest quality health care to its patients, with the most up-to-date treatment options available. A multidisciplinary prostate cancer team – involving urology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology and nuclear medicine came together to push this treatment for advanced prostate cancer forward.