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Advanced, precise radiation may boost limb-sparing therapy for sarcoma

LOS ANGELES, November 2, 2004 - Brachytherapy, the administration of radiation therapy locally through radioactive seeds, holds promise as part of a limb-sparing treatment program for patients with soft-tissue sarcomas, according to researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

After five years, 83 percent of patients in a trial incorporating brachytherapy into the treatment plan had survived, according to a team of Keck School radiation oncologists, orthopaedists and preventive medicine researchers, who announced the results recently at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology in Atlanta. The results equal that of a similar trial done at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Oscar E. Streeter Jr., M.D., associate professor of radiation oncology at the Keck School and USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, shared results of the team's study with colleagues on October 5 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

Sarcomas are cancers that grow in the connective tissues of the body, commonly within muscle and bone. Surgery and radiation have been an important part of successful treatment for these sarcomas.

In the past-and even in some cases, today-surgeons have had to amputate a limb to treat soft-tissue sarcomas. But limb-sparing procedures and new technological breakthroughs are helping make modern treatment less drastic. Physicians want to take advances even further, trying to keep radiation from harming skin that is healing from cancer surgery, for example, and focusing radiation on where it is most desired. Brachytherapy may increasingly be part of that effort.

In brachytherapy, after a surgeon removes the tumor from the patient, the radiation oncologist then inserts several catheters through the skin and into the cavity left by the tumor. After at least five days, when the patient has recovered from surgery, a radiation oncologist uses a co
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Contact: Sarah Huoh
shuoh@usc.edu
323-442-2830
University of Southern California
2-Nov-2004


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