Patients with hormone-refractory prostate cancer often have multiple bone metastases. The resulting bone pain is associated with reduced life quality, increased cost of therapy and impairment of overall survival. Trials with bone-targeting β-emitters have mostly showed an effect on alleviation of bone pain along with prolongation in survival, documented in only a limited number of patients. A randomized phase III trial (ALSYMPCA) using the α-emitter 223RaCl2 (Xofigo®) showed for the first time, a longer overall survival of 3.6 months in treated patients as a sign of an antitumor effect. The time to first skeletal-related events was also significantly longer in the therapy group compared with placebo. Because of the short range of α-emitter, the bone marrow toxicity of radium therapy is low, and so this radionuclide could also be a candidate for combination with chemotherapy. The elimination of 223RaCl2 is mainly through the gastrointestinal tract and side effects are mainly in this area. The procedure is similar to treatment with other bone-seeking agents and consists of six administrations of 50 kBq/kg bodyweight Xofigo®, repeated every 4 weeks. At present Xofigo® is only approved for hormone-refractory prostate cancer.
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