CHERRY HILL, N.J., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Former New Jersey Assemblyman Francis Bodine was surprised and delighted when his radiotherapy treatment sessions for prostate cancer went from about 20 minutes each day to less than five. Midway through his course of treatment, doctors at the Delaware Valley Urology Cancer Center acquired the region's first RapidArc® radiotherapy technology from Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR), making it possible for them to deliver advanced intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) treatments two to eight times faster than was previously possible
At the time Bodine's treatments began, his doctor was using what was then the state-of-the-art for IMRT--an advanced form of treatment that shapes the beam to match the shape of the tumor and minimizes exposure of surrounding healthy tissues.
"I knew exactly how long my treatments were taking, because I was counting the seconds," Bodine says. "The machine rotated around me and stopped at seven different positions. The time it took to rotate and deliver the radiation from each angle was about 3 minutes and sometimes a few seconds more, so I had to hold still for quite a long time."
When he was switched to RapidArc radiotherapy, the actual treatment time once he was in position, went down to about 80 seconds, Bodine says. "The machine would rotate around my body without stopping at all. It was so quick, it took more time for me to get undressed and go into the room than it did for the actual treatments."
"RapidArc® technology enables us to deliver highly-precise IMRT treatment much faster than was previously possible with earlier technology," says Steven J. DiBiase, MD, chief of radiation oncology services at the Center and clinical associate professor, Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine. "RapidArc treatments deliver the dose during one continuous arc around the patient. It also uses fewer monitor units--that's a measure of the amount of radiation being emitted--to complete a treatment. That means there is less low-dose spillage being scattered to other parts of the body."
Faster treatments confer another potential benefit for the treatment of prostate cancer. "Speed has the potential to increase accuracy," says Dr. DiBiase. "Prostate tumors can move within the body during longer treatments, due to natural processes like the bladder filling. With RapidArc, the chance of tumor motion during treatment is reduced."
Bodine chose radiotherapy for prostate cancer because he wanted the least invasive treatment option. "I looked at everything--radical surgery, laparoscopic surgery, seed implants, radiation. I talked with about 15 of my friends who had been through this, and everyone had made a different choice. But I decided on this procedure because I felt it was the least invasive. Normally in the winter, we go away, but I said, 'Let's just take care of this.' I concluded my treatments in March, and 3 months later, my PSA had dropped from 3.9 to 0.5. Three months after that, it dropped again, to 0.3."
Bodine reports that he suffered few side effects--an outcome that is consistent with many published studies of IMRT in the treatment of prostate cancer (see select examples below). "I did not have problems with urination, no bleeding or leakage. The only side effect was that I was a little tired in the afternoons during my treatments. This summer, my wife and I traveled to Macinaw Island in Michigan. Now we are making plans for traveling this winter. We'll go to Newport, Rhode Island to see family, and we're still deciding what to see in January, February, March. We're very busy, my wife and I, doing the things we missed out on because of the demands of my career and elected office for so many years. I plan to be around for many years to come."
The American Cancer Society's most recent estimates show that, in 2008 there were 192,280 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States, with over 6,000 of those occurring in the state of New Jersey.
Selected studies showing improved outcomes in the form of fewer post-treatment side effects for patients treated with IMRT as compared with other forms of radiotherapy:
Namiki S et al. Five-year follow-up of health-related quality of life after intensity-modulated radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2009 Nov;39(11):732-8.
Liauw SL et al. Biochemical control and toxicity after intensity-modulated radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Technol Cancer Res Treat. 2009 Jun;8(3):201-6.
Cahlon O et al. Ultra-high dose (86.4 Gy) IMRT for localized prostate cancer: toxicity and biochemical outcomes. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2008 Jun 1;71(2):330-7.
Zelefsky MJ et al. Incidence of late rectal and urinary toxicities after three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy and intensity-modulated radiotherapy for localized prostate cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2008 Mar 15;70(4):1124-9.
Zelefsky MJ et al. High-dose intensity modulated radiation therapy for prostate cancer: early toxicity and biochemical outcome in 772 patients. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2002 Aug 1;53(5):1111-6.
About The Delaware Valley Urology Cancer Treatment Center
The Delaware Valley Urology Cancer Treatment Center is the first and only radiation oncology center in the Delaware Valley dedicated to prostate cancer care. Featuring the region's first RapidArc™ radiotherapy suite, the DVU Cancer Treatment Center represents the state-of-the art in radiation technology. A recent breakthrough in cancer treatment, RapidArc radiotherapy delivers powerful and precise tumor-destroying radiation in a painless treatment that takes less than two minutes. That means a faster, more comfortable session and less disruption to patients' daily routine. For more information, contact the center at 856-751-9010, or visit www.dvucancercare.com.
About Varian Medical Systems
Varian Medical Systems, Inc., of Palo Alto, California, is the world's leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy, and brachytherapy. The company supplies informatics software for managing comprehensive cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers and medical oncology practices. Varian is a premier supplier of tubes and digital detectors for X-ray imaging in medical, scientific, and industrial applications and also supplies X-ray imaging products for cargo screening and industrial inspection. Varian Medical Systems employs approximately 5,100 people who are located at manufacturing sites in North America, China and Europe and in its 79 sales and support offices around the world. For more information, visit http://www.varian.com/.
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT: Meryl Ginsberg, Varian Medical Systems 650-424-6444 or firstname.lastname@example.org Patricia French, Delaware Valley Urology Cancer Center 856-751-3245 or email@example.com
SOURCE: Varian Medical Systems, Inc.
Web site: http://www.varian.com/