Treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer and bone metastases with radium-223 dichloride



Radium-223 dichloride (Ra-223) is the first α-particle emitting radiopharmaceutical to be approved for the treatment of patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer and associated bone metastases, and the first bone-targeting agent to significantly improve patient overall survival whilst reducing pain and the symptomatic skeletal events (SSEs) associated with bone metastases. Ra-223 exhibits a favourable safety profile, with low myelosuppression rates and fewer adverse events than placebo. Compared with other approved radiopharmaceuticals, the α-particle emitting Ra-223 has a high biological efficiency and a short penetration range, potentially sparing bone marrow toxicity and limiting unwanted exposure. Ra-223 has a short half-life and decays to a stable product, reducing the problem of storage and disposal associated with radiopharmaceuticals. Ra-223 offers a new treatment option with great potential in this setting. However, concerns remain amongst patients, their families and health care professionals over the use of radiopharmaceuticals. This article, which draws on the experiences of health care workers during the ALSYMPCA (ALpharadin in SYMtomatic Prostate CAncer) study, reviews the clinical development of Ra-223, highlighting the key issues for the uro-oncology nurse who has a pivotal role within the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) to ensure safe and effective treatment to the patient. The role of the uro-oncology nurse is multifaceted, including patient pre-assessment and post-treatment monitoring and coordination of the MDT. In addition, their role in communicating with and educating those involved with Ra-223 on what to expect from the agent can alleviate fears associated with its use.