Prostate cancer radiotherapy: potential applications of metal nanoparticles for imaging and therapy

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Prostate cancer (CaP) is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in males. There have been dramatic technical advances in radiotherapy delivery, enabling higher doses of radiotherapy to primary cancer, involved lymph nodes and oligometastases with acceptable normal tissue toxicity. Despite this, many patients relapse following primary radical therapy, and novel treatment approaches are required. Metal nanoparticles are agents that promise to improve diagnostic imaging and image-guided radiotherapy and to selectively enhance radiotherapy effectiveness in CaP. We summarize current radiotherapy treatment approaches for CaP and consider pre-clinical and clinical evidence for metal nanoparticles in this condition.

Prostate cancer (CaP) is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in males and is responsible for more than 10,000 deaths each year in the UK.1 Technical advances in radiotherapy delivery, including image-guided intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IG-IMRT), have enabled the delivery of higher radiation dose to the prostate, which has led to improved biochemical control. Further improvements in cancer imaging during radiotherapy are being developed with the advent of MRI simulators and MRI linear accelerators.2–4

Nanotechnology promises to deliver significant advancements across numerous disciplines.5 The widest scope of applications are from the biomedical field including exogenous gene/drug delivery systems, advanced biosensors, targeted contrast agents for diagnostic applications and as direct therapeutic agents used in combination with existing treatment modalities.6–11 This diversity of application is especially evident within cancer research, with a myriad of experimental anticancer strategies currently under investigation.

This review will focus specifically on the potential of metal-based nanoparticles to augment the efficacy of radiotherapy in CaP, a disease where radiotherapy constitutes a major curative treatment modality.12 Furthermore, we will also address the clinical state of the art for CaP radiotherapy and consider how these treatments could be best combined with nanotherapeutics to improve cancer outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20150256
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number1054
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2015


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