Strontium 89 for bones

The Birmingham Prostate Clinic offers Strontium 89, a treatment to help control pain experienced by patients when prostate cancer spreads to their bones.

What is it?

Strontium 89 is a form of internal radiotherapy and is usually given as an intravenous infusion or IV. This contains Strontium 89 which emits beta particles of radiation. These rays target the cancer cell within your bones, reducing pain and delaying the development of future tumours.

How would it be administered?

Strontium 89 is given to patients as an intravenous infusion (or IV). A doctor or nurse places a narrow plastic tube into a vein, usually in your arm, using a needle. The needle is then removed and the fluid is passed through the tube into your vein.

You would be given your IV as an outpatient and monitored for several hours before being able to go home.

It can take up to three weeks before the affects of are felt. However, these affects are long lasting and will remain for many months. You may need to have another injection several months later.

What do we know from clinical studies?

  • There is good evidence from a large number of clinical studies that this therapy can provide sustained pain relief in patients with prostate cancer that has spread to the bones.
  • More than 70 per cent of patients experience relief of their pain following a single injection.
  • The palliative effect is long term. Patients’ pain is relieved for a period of many months following the treatment.
  • It can reduce the need for pain relief tablets and opioid analgesia.
  • It has been shown to improve the quality of life of patients with advanced prostate cancer.
  • It is well tolerated with minimal side effects including mild nausea and reduction of the platelet and white blood cell counts.
  • Studies have shown Strontium 89 can delay the need for palliative external beam radiotherapy by delaying the development of new tumours.