Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


High dosage brachytherapy obtains excellent results in head and neck tumors

High-dosage perioperative brachytherapy (applied within the surgical process) obtains excellent results in the treatment of head and neck tumours, at the same time as reducing the period of radiation.

These are the conclusions of research undertaken jointly by three Departments at the University of Navarra Hospital and which was published in the latest issue of Brachytherapy, official journal of the American Society of Brachytherapy.

The work describes the application of this new radiotherapy technique to 40 patients between 2000 and 2006. Given the size of the sample, the article is a description of the greatest number of patients treated with high-dosage brachytherapy for head and neck tumours in world medical literature. According to results, after a seven-year follow-up, the illness was controlled in 86% of the cases and the percentage of survival was 52%.

In concrete, the research focused on the treatment of tumours in the oral cavity, those affecting the tongue and the floor of the mouth, and those in the oropharyngeal region, such as tumours of the tonsils.

Involved in the study was a multidisciplinary team of seven specialists from three departments at the University of Navarra Hospital: the Radiotherapy Department, the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and the Ear, Nose and Throat Department.

Intensifying radiation dosage

As is known, brachytherapy is a radiotherapy treatment involving the placing of radioactive sources within the tumour or nearby.

In the case in hand, the work analysed the application of brachytherapy as complementary post-surgery treatment, explained Doctor Rafael Martínez-Monge, Director of the Radiotherapy Department. Some cases of head and neck tumours require the application of radiotherapy after the surgical operation. Using this technique, they have managed to intensify the radiation dosage with the goal of reducing relapse rates.

In certain treatments, brachytherapy provides better end-result possibilities than conventional radiotherapy. The procedure enables the administration of doses that would not be easily achieved using other techniques, due to toxic effects, explained the specialist from the University of Navarra Hospital.

Two weeks of treatment less

Moreover, the use in brachytherapy of high dosages involves a series of benefits for the patient as regards the overall treatment. The great advantage, points out Doctor Martínez-Monge, is the reduction of total time. While conventional radiotherapy treatment lasted seven weeks, administering part of the radiation through brachytherapy can take two weeks less.

This technique also manages to reduce the time of radiation compared to treatment with low dosage brachytherapy. Thanks to the existence of new sources of radiation, the treatment is released in a matter of minutes. Before the patient under brachytherapy treatment carried the radioactive source for several days and, thus, had to be isolated in a lead-lined room, with limitations on visits and nursing care. With high-dosage brachytherapy, however, the patient is only radioactive during the actual administration of the treatment; as such, the rest of the time can be spent in a conventional room.

For the administration of this technique it is necessary to prepare the affected region during the surgical operation. On extirpating the tumour, the surgeon covers the surgery zone — the area with greatest possibilities for relapse — with a series of plastic tubes which are subsequently filled with radioactive material, the aim being to effect a highly selective and precise radiation. Brachytherapy is introduced through these tubes, one end of which appears at the surface of the skin, like a drainpipe, explained Doctor Rafael Martínez-Monge. These tubes are connected to a machine that administers the treatment according to a computer programme personalised for each patient, he added.

Application to other types of tumour

Apart from perioperative high-dosage brachytherapy treatment for head and neck tumours, the University of Navarra Hospital has been working on the application of this procedure to other oncological processes for a number of years. There are a number of studies under way on its use in gynaecological tumours and sarcomas, amongst others. Since 2000 about 400 patients, with different types of tumours, have been treated with this technique.

Oihane Lakar | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>