Norris Cotton Cancer Center Offers New Treatment for Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Radium-223 injection is “very tolerable” with few side effects

Article ID: 613720

Released: 12-Feb-2014 2:00 PM EST

Source Newsroom: Norris Cotton Cancer Center Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

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  • Credit: Mark Washburn

    Thomas Sroka, MD, PhD, Radiation Oncologist, Norris Cotton Cancer Center

Newswise — (Lebanon, NH, 02/11/14) — Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center has treated three men with a recently FDA-approved treatment, which offers new options for men whose prostate cancer has spread to their bones. The treatment’s trade name is Xofigo® (or radium-223 dichloride). It is an alpha particle-emitting radioactive therapeutic agent with an anti-tumor effect.

Treatment entails an injection each week, up to six injections if needed. “When compared with the best existing standard of care, research shows that patients receiving radium-223 injections live longer,” said Thomas C. Sroka, MD, PhD, radiation oncologist, Norris Cotton Cancer Center. “It is also very tolerable,” he said, “with few side effects.”

Sroka explains that the agent is made to look like calcium so it is easily absorbed into the bone. “This radioisotope is precise, settling into the right place, with minimal damage to surrounding tissue,” said Sroka. It targets area of increased bone turnover, which is the case in bone metastases. The high-energy alpha-particle from Radium-223 deposits its energy over a very short distance (less than 100 micrometers), which is how it limits damage to surrounding normal tissue.

Xofigo was approved by FDA in May of 2013 and is the first agent of its kind. Clinical trials of the drug showed an improvement of overall survival time from 11.3 months to 14.9 months versus placebo. The most common side effects are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and peripheral edema.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States. If it spreads to other places in the body, prostate cancer predominantly settles in the bones. Bone metastases are a leading cause of death in men with prostate cancer.

Sroka is a member of Norris Cotton Cancer Center’s Prostate and Genitourinary Cancer Program with specialized interest in prostate brachytherapy, intensity modulation radiation therapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery. He offers radium-223 injections at Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon.

About Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center combines advanced cancer research at Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine with patient-centered cancer care provided at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock regional locations in Manchester, Nashua, and Keene, NH, and St. Johnsbury, VT, and at 12 partner hospitals throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. It is one of 41 centers nationwide to earn the National Cancer Institute’s “Comprehensive Cancer Center” designation. Learn more about Norris Cotton Cancer Center research, programs, and clinical trials online at

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