Pediatric brachytherapy: The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute experience using californium-252

J. N. Fontanesi, P. J. Chuba, M. Rivard, R. Benda, F. E. Rector, D. L. Farmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of brachytherapy in the treatment of pediatric malignancies has gained worldwide acceptance during the past 20 years. However, there has been only a single reference to a pediatric patient receiving neutron brachytherapy using californium-252. Between November 1995 and October 1998, seven pediatric patients received 252Cf brachytherapy applications as their only radiation treatment at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Mich. One patient received a 252Cf application following an external beam irradiation in field failure. None of the other patients had received prior radiation. There were five males and two females, whose ages ranged from 18 months to 18 years at the time of their brachytherapy application (median, 5 years). Patients were treated for rhabdomyosarcoma (initial n=3; recurrent n=2), primitive neuroectodermal tumor, and a recurrent desmoid tumor. Treatment sites were buttocks/groin (n=3), palate, vagina, calf, and foot. Follow-up has ranged between 18 and 34 months (median, 22 months); local control in the implanted area has been documented in five of seven treatment sites. No unusual or unexpected complications were seen, although the commonly seen skin changes did occur earlier than expected in these patients. This retrospective study is the first to report on the potential usefulness of neutron brachytherapy for children. In selected patients, this unique source may offer similar advantages as that of other well-known sources with potential increased efficacy due to its radiobiological nature. In addition, information relating to development of second malignant tumors will be monitored closely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-41
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Brachytherapy International
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Brachytherapy
  • Neutrons
  • Pediatric
  • Radiation
  • Soft-Tissue Sarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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