[Histonet] brachytherapy seeds in prostates

From:"Robert Richmond"

Peggy Wenk asked three days ago for information about radioactive
brachytherapy "seeds" in prostate tissue received in surgical

I have seen one such case, about four years ago. I put the "seeds" in
a flatbed scanner and got a good clear picture of them, if you want

Three radioisotopes are used for this purpose. Iodine 125 has a half
life of 60 days. Iridium 192 has a half live of about 74 days.
Palladium 103 has a half life of about 17 days.

I was eventually able to find out which of the three isotopes my
specimen contained, and when the "seeds" were inserted, much too long
ago to be of any concern.

In my experience, hospital radiation safety officers are not much
concerned about possible hazards to pathologists and
histotechnologists from this material. As with so many other safety
issues, Good Management considers us beneath consideration.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN
Subject: [Histonet] Need volunteers for lab study
Peggy Wenk

I'm working on a research project for my master's class on safety
management. It's involving brachytherapy seeds that are sometimes found in
TURPS and whole prostates received in histology (grossing and sectioning).

I'm gathering data as to how radioactive these seeds are X number of months
after implantation. I'm finding out that most Radiation Safety Officers in
most hospitals don't know that histology receives prostates with these seeds
in them. Nor does Brachytherapy - they're assuming that once the seeds are
implanted, they are in the patient for life. And no one knows if the seeds
are still radioactive when we receive them in grossing and during
sectioning. And I can't find any articles on the topics, expect that the NRC
(National Regulatory Commission) says if the lab receives radioactive
specimens, then we are under the same guidelines for radiation as, say,
brachytherapy, nuclear medicine, etc.

What I need are some other hospitals in the US to help me gather information
as to number of times these seeds are received. For this class, I just need
help gathering information in October and November.

Please email me directly - If you are willing to:
- let me know when you receive one/some of these seeds in a whole prostate
- how many total number of whole prostates and TURPS you received in Oct and
Nov (I'm hoping a quick computer search would work)
- and if you are willing to do a little more checking when you receive any
seeds, such as
    - patient history as to when the seeds were implanted (pathologist
hopefully will get this history), and
    - if possible, if they are iodine (I-125) or palladium (Pd-103) (again,
maybe the pathologist will find this on the patient's history).

I do NOT need any information about the patient, so don't worry about HIPPA.

I know I won't get that many cases at our hospital over the next two months
(research paper due in December), so I'm hoping for more hospitals will
participate, so I get better data. I'm particularly interested in hospitals
that HAVE received seeds in the past, as I'm guessing these labs are more
likely to receive the seeds in the future.

Thanks in advance.

Peggy Wenk

Histonet mailing list

<< Previous Message | Next Message >>