Xofigo ( or its generic trade name radium – 223 dicholoride ) is an FDA approved cancer drug treatment for patients who have a late stage prostate cancer that has spread to the patient’s bones, but not to other organs, such as the liver, the brain or the lungs.
Produced by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., this cancer treatment is intended for patients whose advanced prostate cancer is also resistant to medical, or surgical, treatments to lower their testosterone levels.
Learn About Xofigo
Since testosterone may enable the prostate cancer to grow, the goal of some cancer surgery and drug treatments is to lower the amount of this male hormone in the patient’s body. When the cancer spreads or comes back after such treatments, it is sometimes referred to as castration resistant.
This treatment is also intended for patients who have symptomatic bone metastases and no known visceral metastatic disease. Symptomatic bone metastases means that the patient experiences pain within the bones that is not easily controlled with pain medication. And visceral metastatic disease is when the prostate cancer has spread to the patient’s organs such as liver, lungs or the brain.
Given intravenously once every 4 weeks for 6 treatments, Xofigo is considered an alpha particle emitting radioactive therapeutic drug.
Considered a targeted cancer treatment, Xofigo binds with minerals in the patient’s bone to deliver radiation directly to bone tumors, limiting the damage to the surrounding normal tissues.
According to recent studies, Xofigo prostate cancer treatment improved the overall survival of prostate cancer patients by four months compared to those prostate cancer patients with bone metastases who did not receive this drug.
In addition, patients who received Xofigo did not develop bone complications as quickly as patients without Xofigo. These bone complications also included fractures, bone surgery or spinal cord compressions.
Treatment Side Effects
As with every cancer treatment, patients may experience common, as well as less common side effects from a particular treatment.
Common side effects of Xofigo may include the following:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Peripheral edema or swelling – the accumulation of fluids that may cause swelling, such as in the lower limbs.
- Changes in blood counts.
Less common side effects from the Xofigo treatment may include:
- Bone marrow failure (when a patient does not produce an adequate amount of red or white blood cells, or platelets.
- Skin inflammation in or damage to the tissue surrounding where the drug was injected).
- Secondary malignancies such as osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer)
Besides these possible side effects, there are also potential risks to other people (medical staff, caregivers and the patient’s household members) from the administration of Xofigo. These may include radiation or contamination from spills of bodily fluids, such as urine, feces or vomit.
Whenever possible, patients should use a toilet and the toilet should be flushed several times after each use. When handling the patient’s bodily fluids, wearing gloves and hand washing will protect caregivers. Clothing soiled with Xofigo or patient fecal matter or urine should be washed promptly and separately from other clothing.
Xofigo is not indicated for use in women. Xofigo is contraindicated in women who are or may become pregnant. Xofigo is contraindicated in pregnancy.
Xofigo is also currently being studied for the treatment of bone metastasis in other types of cancers.
Talk to your doctor or medical team to determine if Xofigo is appropriate for your cancer treatment.
More Cancer Information
Learn more about other new cancer treatments and drugs.
Learn more about prostate cancer.