Ethanol Injection Helps Thyroid Cancer Patients

Alcohol cut tumor volume 50% in bone metastasis cases where radioiodine was ineffective

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TUESDAY, June 5, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Injecting ethanol (alcohol) directly into the bone to kill cancer cells helps manage bone metastasis in thyroid cancer patients, say Japanese researchers who conducted a small study of 12 patients.

They found that percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI) reduced tumor volume by more than 50 percent in all the patients, who had radioiodine-ineffective bone metastasis from thyroid cancer.

The study was presented this week at the annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine, in Washington, D.C.

"PEI appears effective in terms of palliation (control) of symptoms (such as pain) and tumor size reduction and does not induce significant systemic side effects," Kunihiro Nakada, a clinical assistant professor in the department of radiology at Hokkaido University, said in a prepared statement.

"In addition, PEI is a feasible treatment for radioiodine-ineffective tumors and has a potential for improving general performance or quality of life for selected patients."

Nakada said more research needs to be done to determine the most effective doses, number of times PEI sessions should be repeated, and what other treatments could be combined with PEI to improve effectiveness.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about bone metastasis.

SOURCE: Society of Nuclear Medicine, news release, June 4, 2007

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