Queens Woman First To Get New Brain Tumor Treatment at Lenox Hill

Doctors perform intracranial brain brachytherapy using IsoRay’s Cesium-131 radiation seed implants
Doctors perform intracranial brain brachytherapy using IsoRay’s Cesium-131 radiation seed implants

NEW YORK, NY – A 73-year-old Roosevelt Island woman is home recovering after being the first patient at Lenox Hill Hospital to undergo a new, low-energy radiation treatment for a large metastatic brain tumor.

Doctors performed intracranial brain brachytherapy using IsoRay’s Cesium-131 radiation seed implants to treat patient Sandra Levine’s tumor.

Ms. Levine’s brain tumor was found incidentally. After coming to the hospital following a fall, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan revealed a large mass on her brain with surrounding swelling. A computed tomography (CAT) scan of her abdomen showed a very large mass on the right kidney.

“Ms. Levine had a large metastatic renal cell carcinoma brain metastasis,” said John Boockvar, MD, director of the LHH’s Brain Tumor Center. “To treat the mass in Ms. Levine’s brain, the best option was to remove the tumor and implant Cesium-131 radiation seeds directly into the tumor cavity.”

Dr. Boockvar and Jed Pollack, MD, LHH’s chair, radiation medicine, performed Ms. Levine’s procedure on Oct. 27. A right parietal craniotomy was performed so the surgeons could access the tumor and then Dr. Boockvar placed Cesium-131 seeds directly into the tumor cavity.

“By placing Cesium-131 radiation seeds directly into the resected tumor bed, it allows for precise treatment targeting and minimizes radiation dose and potential damage to surrounding, healthy brain tissue,” said Dr. Pollack. “Cesium-131’s low energy (29 keV) and its 9.7 day half life allows for patients to receive internal radiation therapy in a shorter period of time, with fewer side effects and better quality of life. For patients with a solitary metastasis, this also eliminates the need for postoperative radiation. Additionally, the exposure considerations for friends and family are very minimal and time-limited to less than 30 days.”

The procedure is indicated for patients who have a large, symptomatic metastasis that will need to be removed, regardless of what form of definitive local radiation (or radiosurgery) is employed.

This therapy is now available for patients with all types of brain tumors, including primary and metastatic cancers of the brain. It can start killing cells from the moment the seeds are left in the tumor cavity.

“We are very excited to have thought leaders like Dr. Boockvar and Dr. Pollack utilize Cesium-131 isotope seeds for the treatment of metastatic brain cancers as they seek better solutions and outcomes for their patients,” said Dwight Babcock, IsoRay’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Medical thought leaders recognize the important need for this new powerful weapon in the battle against cancer and Cesium-131 is that solution.”

“It was very intriguing to learn about the procedure and it makes perfect sense. Why delay radiation, if you can do it in the beginning?” Ms. Levine said of the treatment.

“The care I received at Lenox Hill Hospital was superb,” said Ms. Levine. “The doctors and nurses were more than what I could have imagined in terms of medical excellence and their caring nature towards me.”

Focus onHealth TV

Watch Focus onHealth, Northwell Health's TV show. It's the healthy way to stay informed!