Radionuclide therapy in advanced prostate cancer: from pain killer to disease modifier and beyond

  • Joseph O'Sullivan

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy by Independent Research


The use of radionuclide therapy in prostate cancer has been a key focus of my research over the past 22 years. During that time, the use of radionuclide therapy in the treatment of metastatic disease has steadily increased. The initial wave of radionuclides used in prostate cancer were based on the classical prostate cancer phenotype of bone forming metastases which facilitated bone-targeted therapies such as Strontium-89 and Samarium-153 EDTMP. These agents were effective at reducing pain however there was no disease modifying benefit. In the past 10 years (the time frame for the papers discussed in this critical analysis) my research has involved innovative clinical trials of combination of Rhenium-186 HEDP with chemotherapy, dosimetry studies of Rhenium-186, large trials developing Radium-223 as a life prolonging therapy, and a first ever trial of Radium-223 in metastatic castration sensitive prostate cancer. I believe that my work in radionuclide therapy in advanced prostate cancer has made an important contribution to keeping the field vibrant. The next wave of radionuclide therapies in prostate cancer are focused on a cell surface protein called Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) are already showing the potential for life-extension in advanced prostate cancer.

For copyright reasons this thesis is partially redacted.

Date of AwardJul 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorKevin Prise (Supervisor) & Nick Orr (Supervisor)


  • Prostate cancer
  • radionuclide therapy
  • molecular radiotherapy

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