Radioactive iodine-125 seeds in the localisation of breast tumours

Author(s): Richard Peace, George Petrides, Carol Ellen Holmes, Nidhi Sibal

Hospital: The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Reference: RAD Magazine, 43, 507 19-20


Iodine-125 seeds have been licensed for use in prostate cancer for many years. Since 2001 there has been growing evidence for radioactive seed localisation (RSL) off-licence to mark breast tumours prior to wide local excision (WLE). The seeds are about the size of a grain of rice. The titanium shell houses a ceramic core impregnated with iodine-125. The iodine-125 emits gamma rays of around 30keV with a half-life of 59.4 days. They are relatively cheap and commercially available.

Clinical RSL services are established in The Netherlands and United States. However, The Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was the first to implement the service in the UK in 2014. In this article, we present our experience of RSL including the advantages and disadvantages compared with traditional guide wire localisation (GWL) and the potential practical and safety issues when using RSL.

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