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FDA's Approval of MammoSite
A New Treatment Option in Fight Against Breast Cancer will be Offered Locally

May 9, 2002 - Women who have a cancerous lump removed from their breast now have a new option for postoperative radiation therapy, the MammoSite Radiation Therapy System.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Monday, May 6, 2002 this system designed to deliver high dose rate radiation therapy to breast cancer patients from the inside out which shortens the treatment time of radiation by up to 85%. This will decrease the patient's actual treatment time for radiation therapy from approximately seven weeks to one week while delivering the equivalent results. The MammoSite Radiation Therapy System, however, is intended to treat only early-stage breast cancer in very carefully selected patients.

After lumpectomy, the MammoSite, a hollow catheter with an inflatable balloon attached, is placed inside the tumor resection cavity and filled with saline to allow the balloon to conform to the breast tissue. A radiation source is inserted into the MammoSite balloon, which is designed to deliver a highly conformal dose directly to the margins of the resected tumor - the tissue most likely to experience recurrence. After the final therapy session, the MammoSite balloon is deflated and removed on an outpatient basis.

Evansville Cancer Center is pleased to announce the availability of this innovative new treatment for breast cancer exclusively through its facilities.

Dr. Shannon Lamb, Evansville Cancer Center Radiation Oncologist, Dr. David J. Carlson, a Breast and General Surgeon with Evansville Surgical Associates and Arnold Sorensen, a physicist with Evansville Cancer Center have recently returned from Atlanta, Georgia where they attended, by invitation, a medical training program for the MammoSite Radiation Therapy Treatment hosted by Proxima Therapeutics. Only 30 sites throughout the country will be among the first to offer this service to their community and Evansville Cancer Center will be among those 30 sites. The site profile criteria are as follows:

  • Thought leaders and early adopters of new beneficial technologies
  • Ability to deliver High Dose Rate Radiation Therapy (HDR remote afterloader)
  • Collaborative relationship between surgeon and radiation oncologist
  • High commitment to patient care and successful clinical outcomes

MammoSite Radiation Therapy Treatment will be performed as a collaborative effort between the surgeon and radiation oncologist trained to do this procedure.

Shannon Lamb, MD, of the Evansville Cancer Center states, "We are very excited to be able to offer a new modality of treatment for breast cancer patients. Unlike standard external radiation, brachytherapy works from the inside, with a radioactive source placed temporarily into the breast at the site of the excised tumor, where cancer is most likely to recur. With this new technique, the MammoSite, treating the cancerous area from within the cavity will be simpler. The MammoSite (balloon catheter system) offers a shorter treatment program of five treatment days with two treatments per day giving more convenience to the patient at less cost."

Dr. Carlson notes that over 180,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year in the United States. He treats over 80% of his patients with a lumpectomy instead of a mastectomy, and almost all of these women will receive postoperative radiation therapy. "The MammoSite system will allow many, but certainly not all, of these women to receive their radiation therapy in one week instead of the traditional six to seven weeks. We will base our patient selection for this new technology on a number of appropriate factors, such as tumor type and size."

  • Brachytherapy - brachy means "short" in Greek - refers to the short distance between the radiation source and the targeted tissue.

  • The team of professionals at Evansville Cancer Center has performed over 4,500 High Dose Rate   (HDR) brachytherapy procedures for treatment of brain, lung, prostate, head and neck, breast and gynecological disease since 1984.
  • In 1986, this team of professionals held the first international symposium on High Dose Rate Radiation (GammaMed) in Evansville, Indiana with physicians and physicists from South America, South Africa, Australia and Europe attending.

  • Evansville Cancer Center is the only facility in this region that has both clinical training and experience in high dose rate radiation treatment.

  • Evansville Cancer Center will be the exclusive provider to offer the MammoSite Radiation Therapy Treatment in this region.

To learn more about this exciting alternative approach to treating breast cancer, call Robin Lawrence-Broesch, Director of Marketing at Evansville Cancer Center at (812) 474-1110.

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