Lu-177 Therapy in Europe
Radiation therapy has long been one of the main methods of treating malignant neoplasms. However, a wide irradiation zone is among its disadvantages, which affects the tumor and the surrounding healthy tissues. Therefore, modern medicine is gradually abandoning traditional radiation therapy.
Every year, the arsenal of doctors is replenished with new, more effective, and safer weapons to fight cancer. One of them is the treatment with the radioisotope Lutetium-177 PSMA. Advanced European cancer centers actively use this nuclear technique.
Who is prescribed radionuclide therapy?
Among the new radionuclides based on which radiotherapeutic drugs have been developed are lutetium–177 (Lu-177), actinium-225 (Ac-225), and radium-223, widely used in nuclear departments of hospitals in Europe. For example, Lutetium-177 therapy aims to reduce the tumor's size, prevent the spread of cancer cells, and alleviate the disease's symptoms.
Lutetium-177 is used in medicine in Europe for treating two types of cancer at stage 4:
- prostate cancer (PSMA therapy);
- neuroendocrine tumors (PRRT therapy).
Lu-177 PSMA therapy is used when:
- the presence of distant metastases (secondary foci of cancer in lymph nodes, bone tissue, etc.);
- multiple metastatic foci;
- alternative treatments (hormone- and chemotherapy) are poorly tolerated or have failed.
In some patients, treatment with Lutetium 177-PSMA causes long-term remission and can significantly prolong life and improve quality. Actinium-225-PSMA is used in cases where treatment with lu-177 was insufficient.
However, therapy will only be successful for some patients. For effective treatment, cancer cells must contain enough specific protein PSMA. Therefore, blood tests and PSMA-PET scanning are necessary. If the percentage of interaction with lutetium-177 is not more than 50%, then the result of the treatment will be weak.
In addition, the lu-177 psma therapy has contraindications:
- severe renal failure;
- stagnation of urination;
- urinary incontinence;
- disorders of the bone marrow;
- poor test results.
The effectiveness of Lutetium
Prostate cancer treatment with lutetium radionuclide is one of the most effective methods to fight cancer metastases and prevent relapses. Sometimes therapy is prescribed in cases when the tumor is inoperable or when it is too risky to operate on the patient.
The success of Lutetium-177 and Actinium-225 therapy in hospitals in Europe in comparison with other methods can explain the following:
- The drug enters the bloodstream and affects only prostate cancer cells with the help of a specific protein.
- The targeted method damages cells with beta radiation (stronger than chemicals or X-rays).
- This therapy does not affect healthy cells, does not cause serious side effects, and does not require a long recovery after the procedure.
Unlike external irradiation, there is no limit on the number of irradiated metastases in the treatment with radioactive lutetium. So, Lu-177 PSMA therapy can repeat. That is also possible due to the small penetration force of lutetium (about 1.5 mm), which practically does not affect healthy tissues and therefore does not lead to classic side effects, as with external radiation therapy.
Several studies have confirmed the effectiveness of the drug. For example, patients with stage 4 prostate cancer usually do not live longer than 9-12 months. However, PSMA Lutetium-177 therapy in Europe significantly increases their survival rate. After treatment, the risk of death in patients decreased by 38%, and the risk of cancer progression decreased by 60% compared to traditional methods.
Lu-177 treatment for patients with neuroendocrine tumors at the last stage increases the time and quality of life. According to the observations of American oncologist Jonathan Strosberg, survival rates of patients with stage 4 midgut cancer after Lutetium-177 therapy were 65.2%. Conversely, only 10% of patients with this diagnosis lived for three years without this therapy.
In January 2018, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved lu-177 PSMA 617 (Lutathera) for treating neuroendocrine tumors of the gastroenteropancreatic zone. The drug became the first radiopharmaceutical approved for treating patients with this disease.
177-Lutetium is the radioactive element most commonly used worldwide for PSMA treatment. Most of the published trials concerning PSMA are based on a treatment that uses Lu-177 PSMA-617.
One of the leading pharmaceutical manufacturers, the Swiss Company Novartis, continues developing drugs to treat tumors. One of them, Pluvicto (lutetium—177), has demonstrated a clinically significant improvement in survival in patients with metastatic prostate cancer.
At the same time, in a trial involving 469 patients, no unexpected results were revealed regarding the drug's safety. Therefore, based on the results of VISION studies, it was approved by the FDA in March 2022 and, after that, by regulators in the UK and Canada.
Today, research continues on new concepts aimed at further improving the targeted treatment of metastatic prostate cancer. In the future, researchers plan to determine how effective lu-177 PSMA is in treating prostate cancer in the early stages.
Leading countries for Nuclear Medicine
Radionuclide methods are unavailable in most countries due to their recent introduction into medical practice. That is why only a small number of clinics can provide high-quality and safe Lutetium-177 PSMA therapy in Europe, Turkey, and Israel.
Germany, Spain, and Austria are the leading European countries where this progressive prostate cancer treatment method is most developed.
German clinics in Munich, Berlin, and Homburg are equipped with modern medical equipment, which helps to save precious time. Local specialists know, like no one else, that the time factor often plays a crucial role in the anti-cancer fight. Using the latest scientific and technical developments allows for minimizing the risk of complications and side effects.
There are practical advantages to choosing Germany:
- Standards for the safe and high-quality use of radioactive substances.
- Leading pharmaceutical companies producing lu-177 psma.
- Availability of modern therapeutic techniques based on clinical trials.
- Doctors have extensive experience in the effective treatment of metastatic stages of prostate cancer.
- The cost of Lu-177 PSMA is significantly lower than in clinics in the USA or Canada.
German medicine is rightfully considered the most qualitative and effective worldwide. Moreover, the constant flow of patients from abroad speaks about the demand and high professionalism of specialists. Another advantage of German hospitals is an affordable pricing policy and strict state control over clinics and organizations providing medical tourism services.
Constantly accumulating data from clinical trials prove that radiation therapy provides obvious benefits for patients with a wide range of oncological diseases in terms of cancer treatment, organ preservation, reducing the severity of symptoms, and improving quality of life.
Oncologists in Spain are actively using the Lu-177 PSMA technique. Positive reviews of lutetium therapy in Spain indicate its high effectiveness.
Advantages of radionuclide treatment in Spain:
- modern equipment;
- careful treatment planning;
- continuous monitoring of the patient's health status to eliminate the possibility of complications;
- comfortable treatment conditions, and friendly and competent staff.
Among European countries, Austria ranks 3rd in terms of quality of treatment. The country's priority is to introduce achievements in medicine. Diagnostics are regularly carried out to detect oncological diseases. Cancer treatment in Austria is carried out using the latest and most effective techniques.
Oncology treatment in Vienna begins with diagnosis and is carried out by highly qualified specialists in oncology and radiology. The attending physician will tell you about the upcoming lu-177 psma procedure, possible results, risks, and side effects. Oncology requires an integrated approach and accurate diagnosis — this is what Vienna clinics are ready to offer.
Best centers offering Lutetium-177 PSMA therapy in Europe
It is one of the leading German clinics with the most significant nuclear medicine departments in Europe. Specialists cooperate with the Prostate Center to ensure the highest level of diagnosis and treatment. Statistics show excellent results of nuclear approaches at the advanced stages. The main advantages of Helios Hospital also include the following:
- The system of safe production, preservation, and use of radioactive medicines;
- Highly qualified doctors with years of experience in radionuclide medicine;
- Comfortable stay of each patient during the entire course of treatment.
- The Department of Nuclear Medicine, Molecular and Radionuclide Therapy shows excellent results in studying lutetium-177 and its practical application.
- Most clinic patients achieve long-term remission.
- Cancer patients can access the most modern treatments and diagnoses, such as PET computed tomography.
It is one of Germany's most significant academic hospitals, with two branches in Giessen and Marburg. It meets the strict requirements of the German Society of Radiation Oncology. The Department of Nuclear Medicine offers unique methods of prostate cancer treatment. Such therapy is faster and less harmful to the patient. Thus, after lu-177 PSMA therapy, patients are less likely to be diagnosed with dry mouth and stomach diseases. Doctors and medical staff are working on the remaining protocols to do everything to reduce the side effects.
It is a world-famous clinic in Spain. Here, world-class doctors treat famous stars, football players, and politicians. Patients note the following main advantages of the Radiation oncology department:
- Experienced doctors and trained staff provide continuous care for each patient;
- Nuclear medicine treatment, including Lu-177 PSMA, is carried out strictly at the Oncological Institute to achieve the best results and combine approaches for cancer patients;
- The hospital is designed under American standards and is equipped with advanced modern equipment for diagnosis and treatment.
TOP nuclear medicine Doctors
Patients from all over the world choose prostate cancer treatment from leading European doctors for their experience, professionalism, and results:
He is the chief physician of the Radiation Medicine Department at Helios Berlin-Buch Hospital. He has 30 years of experience and has been heading a group of specialists in radiology/radiation therapy/nuclear medicine since 2008. Dr. Stefan's main treatment priorities include the following:
- Diagnosis and therapy of benign and malignant thyroid diseases;
- PET/CT diagnostics using F-18 FDG, Ga-68 PSMA and Ga-68 Dotatoc;
- Radioreceptor therapy of neuroendocrine tumors using Lu-177 Dotatoc;
- Treatment of metastatic prostate carcinoma with Lu-177 PSMA;
- Treatment of liver tumors and metastases using selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT).
Practicing oncologist at the Rechts der Isar University Hospital of the Technical University of Munich, with more than 20 years of experience. Wolfgang Weber has been the Director of the Nuclear Medicine Clinic at the Rechts der Isar Clinic since 2018. He specializes in molecular imaging and targeted radionuclide therapy. In addition, his research focuses on combined imaging and cancer treatment, including prostate cancer.
Prof. Dr. med. Markus Luster
The chief of the Nuclear medicine department at the University Hospital of Marburg. Also, he is a member of the German Society of Nuclear Medicine and the European Association of Nuclear Medicine. Successfully treating metastatic prostate cancer with radionuclides shows high survival and absence of relapses results.
How much does the Lutetium 177 costs in Europe?
The cost of prostate cancer treatment with Lu-177 PSMA in Europe depends on various factors, such as preliminary examination, follow-up examinations, hospitalization, the number of scheduled sessions, and the need for PET computed tomography. In various clinics, the average price for the procedure varies from 14.900 euros to 32.500 euros.
Information that you need to know for Lutetium 177 PSMA therapy in Europe
The AiroMedical team will solve all organizational issues and provide comfortable medical care with the best result for the patient. Our doctors will:
- analyze the patient’s condition;
- choose the best clinic and treatment program;
- take care of insurance and visa (if necessary);
- book tickets;
- provide transfer and translation services.
AiroMedical has many years of experience in medical tourism and 177 Lutetium-PSMA therapy in Europe. We cooperate directly with hundreds of leading clinics in Europe. We offer treatment of patients only in checked clinics where you can get the most effective medical care, fully corresponding to the patient’s condition.
We will translate all medical documentation into your convenience language. During treatment in European clinics, you will receive individual support at all stages, from translating documents and visa processing to the necessary treatment and medical care after returning home.
Treating prostate cancer with Lutetium-177 PSMA may be the last hope for life for those whose traditional methods have failed. Contact us in any convenient way, and we will answer all questions about lutetium therapy.
- The PharmaMedia: Novartis drug demonstrated efficacy in prostate cancer
- Canadian Nuclear Laboratories: Actinium-225: A breakthrough in cancer treatment
- The Journal of Nuclear Medicine: Long-term follow-up and outcomes of re-treatment
- National Library of Medicine: Long-term outcome of 177 Lu-PSMA-617 radioligand therapy