The painless non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) therapy
What is the Rhenium-SCT®?
The abbreviation SCT stands for „Skin Cancer Therapy“.
Rhenium-SCT® means treatment of Skin Cancer using Rhenium-188.
The Rhenium-SCT® is a non-invasive, painless therapy generally providing for unparalleled aesthetic results, even in cases otherwise considered difficult to treat. The Rhenium-SCT® utilizes the radioisotope Rhenium-188 in an epidermal application with optimal properties for the treatment of NMSCs (non-melanoma skin cancers). Due to the specially designed devices and accessories the Rhenium-188 compound never comes in direct contact with the patients’ skin.
Most cases of non-melanoma skin cancers (Basal Cell Carcinomas and Squamous Cell Carcinomas) can be treated using the Rhenium-SCT® with a single application, applied in one single session. Scar-free healing of the treated lesion area and the regeneration of healthy tissue occurs usually within a few weeks after treatment.
The Rhenium-SCT® is marketed by the german company OncoBeta® and usually applied by nuclear medicine physicians and professionals.
What is Rhenium-188?
Rhenium-188 is an isotope that decays continuously by emitting beta-radiation.
The therapeutic range of its beta-radiation is very shallow in human tissue up to 3 mm in depth (see Figure: Transversal cut of the skin). This makes Rhenium-188 ideal for targeted treatment of superficial skin cancer types, like most non-melanoma skin cancers.
The main objective of the Rhenium-SCT® is to be a painless, personalised, non-invasive therapy targeting and destroying cancer cells in the area needed to treat.
The medical working principle of the Rhenium-SCT® or Epidermal Radioisotope Therapy is based on the local direct cell-killing effect of the beta-radiation, which triggers both the local death of cells and local reactions of the immune system of the body to repair itself.
How does the Rhenium-SCT® work?
Rhenium-188 is bound to a fluid matrix (compound) in order to enable an application precisely over the tumor.
The Rhenium-188-Compound is filled in so called Carpoules (Figure 2) which include a specially designed brush for precise application.
The Carpoules are loaded into the special Rhenium-SCT® Applicator (Figure 3) for safe handling and efficient usage.
The lesion or the area needed to treat is first covered with a special protective foil.
During the Rhenium-SCT®, the physician is able to apply the exact needed amount of the Rhenium-188-Compound accurately and efficiently utilizing the specifically developed mechanical control. This way the compound is applied homogeneously and precisely over the tumor or area needed to treat.
Figure 2: Rhenium-SCT® Carpoules
Figure 3: Rhenium-SCT® Applicator
The steps of the Rhenium-SCT®
The dermato-oncologist or skin cancer specialist marks the area needed to treat with the Rhenium-SCT® using a dermatological pen.
Figure 4: Area: size of the lesion plus a security margin of up to 5mm
The area needed to treat is first covered with a special protective foil.
The Rhenium-188- Compound is then applied on top of the special foil, over the marked area of treatment with the Rhenium-SCT® Applicator. The foil and compound are to stay in place until the end of the procedure.
Figure 5: Treatment time: approx. 45-180 min (depending on applied activity, size and depth of lesion)
The treatment takes approximately 45 to 180 minutes after the compound has been applied on the area needed to treat.
The patient sits or lays comfortably while the Rhenium-188-Compound works on the lesion. The protective foil and the dry Rhenium-188-Compound are removed after the designated treatment time.
Figure 6: In most cases, only a single session is required. Wound healing takes approx. 30 to 180 days.
After Care: In general, there is no special aftercare needed. The dead tumor cells are gradually disposed of by the body and replaced with new healthy cells.
Experiences with the epidermal radioisotope therapy
|• Number of treated lesions||> 1300 (2003 – 2017, > 460 patients)|
|• Single-treatment needed for complete remission||> 85% of the cases|
|• Number of treatments needed for complete remission||1–3|
|• Largest treated lesion to-date||150 cm²|
|• Reported secondary effects to date||none|
|• Largest number of lesions treated simultaneously to-date||27|
|• Oldest patient treated to-date||105 years|
Source: Prof. Cesidio Cipriani, Ospedale St. Euginio, Rome/Istituto AlGa, Celano (Italy)
Figure 7: The Epidermal Radioisotope Therapy can be used to treat NMSC lesions all over the body and is ideal to treat areas which are considered difficult to treat, i.e. locations on the face.
Study results from Ospedale St. Eugenio, Rome (Italy)
Results after 12–78 months follow-up
Figure 8: Almost all patients (98.5%; 345 out of 350 patients) undergoing a Epidermal Radioisotope Therapy obtained a complete remission of the treated lesions.
*Remission = a temporary or longtern diminution for symptoms of a disease
Number of treatments before reaching a
visible clinical remission
Figure 9: For the majority of the patients (89%; 312 out of 350 patients) the Epidermal Radioisotope Therapy is a single-session treatment. Depending on the depth of the lesion, several applications may be required.
Source: Cipriani, C., and Sedda, A. F.. “Epidermal Radionuclide Therapy – Dermatological High-Dose-Rate Brachytherapy for the Treatment of Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinoma.” In Therapeutic Nuclear Medicine, edited by Baum, R. P. New York: Springer, 2014. ISBN 978-3-540-36719-2