The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

August 4, 2003

UI Hospitals And Clinics First In Iowa To Offer Unique Breast Cancer Treatment

University of Iowa Health Care cancer specialists today announced that for the first time in Iowa patients with breast cancer have received treatment with a unique therapy that may offer patients several advantages.

The MammoSite Radiation Therapy System (RTS) internally delivers radiation directly to the tissue surrounding the original tumor during the one- to five-day course of treatment. This approach minimizes radiation exposure to healthy tissue. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the treatment for use in May 2002.

"We are delighted to be among the first in the nation to offer this new internal treatment option to women with breast cancer," said Carol Scott-Conner, M.D., Ph.D., professor and head of the UI department of surgery. "These patients are confronting difficult choices regarding their care at a very stressful time. The fact that MammoSite is minimally-invasive for patients, coupled with the short treatment time, could make it easier for more women to consider the choice of lumpectomy."

"Many women who receive a lumpectomy may opt not to receive radiation therapy because of the time commitment and inconvenience that was previously necessary," said Geraldine Jacobson, M.D., UI associate professor (clinical) of radiation oncology. "This technique gives them an alternative option that can be provided in a much shorter period of time in a more convenient manner."

The MammoSite device is a balloon catheter that is inserted into the cavity created by a lumpectomy (the surgical removal of a breast tumor). MammoSite RTS delivers radiation from inside the lumpectomy cavity over a course of five days. The device targets radiation to the area where tumors are most likely to recur, while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue.

Safety and performance of the device for delivery of internal radiation were evaluated in a multi-center study, which involved women with early-stage breast cancer. The study results were reported in 2001 at the annual scientific meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). The safety and effectiveness of the MammoSite RTS as a replacement for whole breast irradiation in the treatment of breast cancer has not been established.

For additional information about MammoSite, please contact UI Health Access toll free at 800-777-8442 or go online at

The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is Iowa's only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center. NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers are recognized as the leaders in developing new approaches to cancer prevention and cancer care, conducting leading edge research and educating the public about cancer.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room 8798 JPP, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009.

CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,