Dr. Sandler on the Unique Characteristics of Radium-223

Howard M. Sandler, MD

Howard M. Sandler, MD, the Chair of Radiation Oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, discusses radium-223, a novel alpha radiation emitting agent under evaluation by the FDA for patients with bone metastases from advanced castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).

Radium-223 has calcimimetic properties that cause it to be selectively absorbed by bone, especially areas of bone with metastatic cancer, Sandler notes. Due to the short range and intensity of alpha particles, this agent is capable of delivering localized radiation therapy to cancer cells and bone without disturbing the hematopoietic properties of the bone marrow itself, Sandler explains.

In the randomized phase III ALSYMPCA trial, radium-223 significantly prolonged survival compared to placebo in men with mCRPC. Overall, the trial found that overall survival was 14.9 months with radium-223 compared to 11.3 in the placebo group.

The cancer community looks forward to novel agents like radium-223 that can improve survival and reduce morbidity, Sandler explains. Radiation and nuclear medicine physicians will likely be involved in the delivery of this agent, according to proposed licensing for the agent. However, Sandler notes, the exact administration procedure may vary from site-to-site.

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