Contura Brachytherapy for Breast Cancer

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Radiation therapy is administered to many breast-cancer patients following a lumpectomy. The goal is to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence by destroying any cancer cells in the tumor cavity. Traditionally whole-breast irradiation uses a radiation source outside the body to treat the cancer site, usually involving daily treatments for six days per week over a six- to seven-week period.

Many breast cnacer patients are appropriate candidates for an alternative to whole-breast radiation treatment known as partial-breast irradiation. Breast brachytherapy is a partial-breast irradiation teqnunique that delivers radiation to tissue surrounding the lumpectomy cavity rather than to the entire breast. By targeting treatment from inside the breast, radiation treatment can be completed in five days, allowing patients to return more quickly to their day-to-day lives.

What Is Balloon Brachytherapy?

The common form of breast brachytherapy consists of implanting a small, balloon-like catheter device into the lumpectomy cavity several days after surgery. A radiation seed is placed inside the balloon through a catheter by a computer-controlled machine twice a day for five days of treatment. Because the balloon is placed inside the lumpectomy cavity, radiation is targeted to the “ring” of breast tissues surrounding the lumpectomy cavity.

What Is Multi-Lumen Balloon Brachytherapy?

New Hope for Patients Excluded From Balloon Brachytherapy Due to Irregular Lumpectomy Shape

A new approach for balloon brachytherapy, Contura® Multi-Lumen Balloon (MLB), was developed for patients who had been excluded from "traditional" balloon therapy because of the location of the lesion related to their breast size. Contura is a small balloon-based device implanted into the breast to treat the tissue surrounding the cavity left after lumpectomy surgery. After being inserted, the balloon is inflated and filled with saline, and a radiation source is placed in the lumpectomy cavity.

Previous balloon brachytherapy used a single channel to place the radiation seed. The Contura MLB uses five separate "lumens," or channels, inside the balloon to place the radiation. The additional channels help the physician to shape or "contour" the radiation dose away from the skin or chest wall. It also employs a vacuum to help the balloon fit closely within the often irregularly shaped lumpectomy cavity, so the targeted areas receive the prescribed therapeutic dose.

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