Prostate cancer: Gel depot protects against radiation damage

Prostate cancer: GelEven more safety during the irradiation of prostate cancer offers a gel depot, a so-called spacer, which acts as a spacer between the anterior wall of the rectum

Barcelona, 13. May 2012 - Even more safety in the irradiation of prostate cancer is now offered by a gel depot, a spacer positioned between the anterior wall of the rectum and the prostate. This optimally protects the rectum from dangerous radiation damage. The Westdeutsche Prostatazentrum in Cologne has now successfully treated the first patients with this innovative system. The results were presented by radiotherapist Dr. Gregor Spira at this year's meeting of the European Society for Radiooncology (ESTRO) in Barcelona.

Thanks to state-of-the-art medical technology and refined methods, radiation therapy for prostate cancer is becoming increasingly important. The placement of the smallest radiation sources directly into the prostate (brachytherapy) as well as intensity modulated and image-controlled irradiation make it possible today to irradiate the prostate with millimetre precision without damaging the surrounding tissue. Nevertheless, radiation-induced irritations of the rectum and thus a higher faeces frequency cannot be prevented in all cases, especially if very high radiation doses have to be irradiated due to an advanced tumour stage.

This is remedied by the SpaceOAR system. It is a water-containing gel (hydrogel) that is positioned between the prostate and rectum before starting therapy. This significantly increases the distance between the two organs. This is sufficient to further minimize the radiation dose on the rectum and thus almost completely eliminate radiation-related irritations of the rectum,"emphasizes Dr. Gregor Spira, radiation therapist at the West German Prostate Center. This is clearly demonstrated by the results of a recent study by the West German Prostate Center1, which was recently presented to a broad expert audience at the annual conference of the European Society for Radiooncology (ESTRO) in Barcelona.

Protection of the rectum

Between November 2011 and February 2012, the physicians investigated a total of 12 patients who received a combination therapy consisting of brachytherapy (HDR afterloading) and intensity-modulated, image-controlled external radiation. All patients were injected a hydrogel between the prostate and rectum before irradiation. By inserting the gel, we were able to increase the distance between the prostate and rectum by up to 13 millimeters,"explains Dr. Spira. Thus, the radiation dose on the rectum could be reduced by almost half overall. The radiotherapist emphasizes:"A visible success that is also noticeable in the patients' quality of life during radiation therapy. None of the men showed serious side effects such as inflammation of the rectum, diarrhoea or bloody stools1.

Not only do patients with advanced prostate cancer benefit from Space OAR, but also patients whose distance between rectum and prostate is comparatively small,"summarizes Dr. Spira. If necessary, it is also possible to increase the applied radiation dose without affecting the surrounding tissue.


Spira G., Neubauer S., Wise C., Derakhshani P.: More Space more dose: Dose report of the first Patients with intermediate and high risk Prostate Cancer treated in Cologne with SpaceOar Hydrogel before HDR-Brachytherapy Boost and External beam IMRT, Department of Radiooncology, Department of Urology, West German Prostate Center Cologne. s (Rectum) and Prostate. -Depot protects against radiation damage

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