Short Course Radiation, SpaceOAR VUE Minimize Side Effects and Promote Quality of Life for UF Prostate Cancer Patients

SpaceOAR VUETo further minimize side effects and promote quality of life for prostate cancer patients, the Department of Radiation Oncology has combined SpaceOAR VUE hydrogel administration with a 20-day Moderate Hypofractionated prostate cancer radiotherapy course at the UF Health Medical Oncology – Davis Cancer Pavilion.

SpaceOAR VUE is a next-generation hydrogel spacer that offers enhanced visibility via CT scan. The spacer provides the benefits of SpaceOAR rectal protection in patients who are either unable to – or prefer not to – undergo MRI imaging for radiation therapy treatment planning.

SpaceOAR is injected into place prior to the start of radiation treatment. Patients may be awake or asleep under general anesthesia for the procedure. It is minimally invasive and is gradually absorbed by the body.

The rectum’s proximity to the prostate makes it susceptible to injury during high radiation doses. According to SpaceOAR manufacturer Augmenix, Inc., to reduce this injury, the spacer pushes the rectum away from the prostate, adding about 1 cm (1/2 inch) of extra space between the prostate and the rectum. This distance significantly reduces the radiation dose to the rectum and patients who received the hydrogel reported significantly less rectal pain during radiotherapy and had significantly less severe long-term rectal complications.

Results from randomized clinical trials show fewer declines in bowel quality of life, urinary quality of life, and sexual function in patients using SpaceOAR Hydrogel. The UF Radiation Oncology team has already successfully administered SpaceOAR to nearly 100 prostate cancer patients since 2019.

The short-course radiotherapy program, overseen by Robert Zlotecki, MD, PhD, UF Radiation Oncology Professor, Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs, and Medical Director, and Assistant Professor Kathryn E. Hitchcock, MD, PhD, is offered to patients with low to favorable intermediate risk prostate cancer.

Radiation therapy for prostate cancer typically administers some 39 – 42 treatments over eight to nine weeks. During short course radiation therapy, eligible patients will receive 20 daily treatment fractions over four weeks. This approach cuts treatment time commitments nearly in half, making it more convenient for patients, especially those traveling from a distance.

“In the next few weeks, we will also be enhancing the MRI-based imaging and treatment planning components of our program with the installation of a Philips 1.5 T MR Simulator,” said Dr. Zlotecki. “Our MRI-guided oncologic management will ultimately result in more precise scans, reliable scheduling, and personalized exams and treatment planning for our patients.”

For more information, contact the UF Department of Radiation Oncology.

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