eISSN: 2081-2841
ISSN: 1689-832X
Journal of Contemporary Brachytherapy
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vol. 11
Original paper

Single institution implementation of permanent 131Cs interstitial brachytherapy for previously irradiated patients with resectable recurrent head and neck carcinoma

Voichita Bar-Ad
Emily Hubley
Adam Luginbuhl
David Cognetti
Joseph Curry
Amy S Harrison
Jennifer M Johnson
James Keller
Cheng Peng
David To
Laura Doyle

J Contemp Brachytherapy 2019; 11, 3: 227–234
Online publish date: 2019/06/13
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Permanent interstitial brachytherapy is an appealing treatment modality for patients with locoregional recurrent, resectable head and neck carcinoma (HNC), having previously received radiation. Cesium-131 (131Cs) is a permanent implant brachytherapy isotope, with a low average photon energy of 30 keV and a short half-life of 9.7 days. Exposure to medical staff and family members is low; patient isolation and patient room shielding are not required. This work presents a single institution’s implementation process of utilizing an intraoperative, permanent 131Cs implant for patients with completely resected recurrent HNC.

Material and methods
Fifteen patients receiving 131Cs permanent seed brachytherapy were included in this analysis. The process of pre-planning, selecting the dose prescription, seed ordering, intraoperative procedures, post-implant planning, and radiation safety protocols are described.

Tumor volumes were contoured on the available preoperative PET/CT scans and a pre-implant treatment plan was created using uniform source strength and uniform 1 cm seed spacing. Implants were performed intraoperatively, following tumor resection. In five of the fifteen cases, intraoperative findings necessitated a change from the planned number of seeds and recalculation of the pre-implant plan. The average prescription dose was 56.1 ±6.6 Gy (range, 40-60 Gy). The average seed strength used was 2.2 ±0.2 U (3.5 ±0.3 mCi). Patients returned to a recovery room on a standard surgical floor and remained inpatients, without radiation safety restrictions, based on standard surgical recovery protocols. A post-implant treatment plan was generated based on immediate post-operative CT imaging to verify the seed distribution and confirm delivery of the prescription dose. Patients were provided educational information regarding radiation safety recommendations.

Cesium-131 interstitial brachytherapy is feasible and does not pose major radiation safety concerns; it should be considered as a treatment option for previously irradiated patients with recurrent, resectable HNC.


interstitial, brachytherapy, cesium-131, head and neck cancer, salvage treatment

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