It is the first FDA-approved alpha particle-emitting radioactive therapeutic agent. In a pivotal phase 3 trial, the median overall survival time was 14.9 months for patients who received the drug compared with 11.3 months among placebo recipients, a significant difference that translated into a 31% decreased risk death associated with radium-223 therapy.
Radium-223 mimics calcium and forms complexes with hydroxyapatite, a bone mineral, at areas of increased bone turnover, such as bone metastases. Here, the alpha particles exert their anti-tumor effect on cancer cells. Alpha particles have an extremely short range, which helps to limit damage to surrounding normal tissue.
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