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  • Alexander Haug

What requirements do I have to fulfil for a Lu-PSMA therapy?

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

Prostate cancer is incredibly common amongst men. In fact, studies show that nearly one in five men will be affected by it. Without treatment, metastatic prostate cancer is fatal. However, new developments in cancer therapy have dramatically increased the likelihood of prolonging the lives of people with severe prostate cancer.


Clinical trials of a new drug known as 177Lu-PSMA-617 have shown positive results for patients suffering from advanced metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. In this article, we will take a closer look at Lu-PSMA therapy, what requirements a patient will have to fulfil to be eligible for Lu-PSMA therapy, and what other treatments are available for prostate cancer.


What happens during Lu-PSMA therapy?


This is a radiation therapy in which a protein (PSMA) that binds to specific structures on the cell surface of prostate cancer is labelled with the radioactive 177Lutetium, thus enabling targeted radiation of cancer cells. This works like a key that recognizes the appropriate lock. Based on this, radioactivity accumulates in the tumour tissue and irradiates it very specifically from the inside while sparing the healthy tissue as much as possible.


The labelled protein is injected via the vein and reaches the tumours with pinpoint accuracy, which are thus irradiated internally. Medications may be administered concomitantly. The treatment lasts about 15 minutes and is repeated after 4-8 weeks.


What is Lu-PSMA therapy?


Lu-PSMA is a radiopharmaceutical that consists of two parts: a drug and a radioactive particle. The drug is called PSMA, which works by attaching itself to PSMA proteins throughout the body. These proteins are usually found on prostate cancer cells. Connected to the drug is the radioactive isotope lutetium-177 (177Lu). Once this chemical attaches to cancer cells, the radioactive molecule is delivered which then kills these cells, stopping the development of prostate cancer. Since the radiation does not travel far in the body, there is only a small amount of tissue damage. A recent clinical trial called VISION found that Lu-PSMA therapy showed positive results for prostate cancer patients.


Who is Eligible for Lu-PSMA therapy?


Patients who are appropriate for Lu-PSMA therapy are those who are suffering from prostate cancer that has progressed despite having an anti-androgen treatment and chemotherapy with docetaxel. Other patients may include those for whom side effects of treatment with docetaxel or anti-androgen drugs appear to be too severe. An indispensable prerequisite is that all metastases of the prostate cancer are PSMA-positive in a PSMA PET/CT as only PSMA-positive metastases can be targeted successfully with Lu-PSMA.


Who offers Lu-PSMA therapy?


Lu-PSMA therapy is now available in Austria. European, American and other patients who can travel to Vienna may wish to consider Dr. Alexander Haug, who is a prostate cancer specialist based in Vienna. Dr. Haug is an experienced and highly reputable cancer and thyroid doctor who offers patient-tailored treatments such as PRRT therapy and Lu-PSMA therapy.

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