Preserving Sight: Palladium-103 Radiation Therapy Saved This Patient’s Only Functioning Eye

October 2018–––In a recent publication in Cornea: The Journal of Cornea and External Disease, a noteworthy case report describes a patient with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in his only functioning eye who had his vision saved using a remarkable application of palladium-103 plaque radiation therapy.


Of all subtypes of conjunctival and corneal cancer, SCC is the most prevalent. The most common treatment for this type of superficial tumor is chemotherapy eye drops. However, in this particularly unique case, a functionally monocular patient presented with invasion of squamous cell cancer through a corneal wound into his eye. Maintenance of vision was essential for this patient, as he could only see using the affected eye.

Thus, a complex decision had to be made. Dr. Finger noted:

“Though we can treat even giant squamous carcinomas of the conjunctiva with topical chemotherapy eye drops, there is no evidence to support their use for intraocular tumor invasions. It is my opinion that it was unlikely that chemotherapy eye drops would penetrate deep enough into the eye to cure this patient.”

This was the potentially vision-saving observation. Since the SCC had spread internally, topical treatment was unlikely to reach the tumor. Had this treatment been chosen as a conservative intervention, the patient might have lost total vision and/or the entire eye.

In an effort to treat the tumor with minimum damage to the eye, palladium-103 plaque radiation therapy was chosen as an eye and vision-saving solution to the patient’s particular case. Such would simultaneously save the patient’s sight and their life.

According to the article, surgery was performed in June of 2014. Nearly 4 years later, the tumor has regressed without recurrence, and his vision is the same as before the radiation.

Thus, even in the face of the most unique cases, palladium-103 radiation therapy has proved remarkably effective.




For more information read the full case report here: [link]

The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mt. Sinai Ocular Oncology Service [link]

About Paul T. Finger, MD [link]



Trailblazing Eye Cancer Studies Presented at AAO 2017


As you may have heard in our previous blog, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) 2017 Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana was attended by noteworthy fellowship alumni from the Eye Cancer Foundation, as well as founder and executive director of the ECF, Dr. Paul T. Finger. Held from November 11th to 14th, AAO took place the day following the 2017 AAOOP Annual Meeting, where oral presentations were given by ECF Fellows Dr. Sonal Chaugule and Dr. Abhilasha Maheshwari.

Dr. Chagule spoke on her research regarding the efficiency of intravitreal steroids to treat radiation side-effects, while Dr. Maheshwari spoke on a 12-year study of patients treated with slotted plaque radiation therapy. To read more on AOOP 2017 presentations from these ECF fellows, click here.

At AAO 2017, hosted at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Dr. Sonal Chaugule, Dr. Ekatrina Semenova, and Dr. Nicole Scripsema presented ECF-sponsored research conducted under the guidance of Dr. Paul T. Finger at the New York Eye Cancer Center and at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Dr. Sonal, pictured below along Dr. Finger, presented two studies, the first titled “Regression patterns of Iris Melanoma after Palladium-103 Plaque Brachytherapy”. This study takes into account 50 iris melanoma patients who were closely evaluated following plaque brachytherapy with Palladium-103 as treatment. The results of this study underscored Palladium-103 as effective treatment for iris melanoma. After incisive evaluation, patients showed decreases in tumor size, tumor pigmentation, and more. These findings are particularly important to iris melanoma patients, who endure a rare condition in the already-rare family of cancers (iris melanoma patients are only 2-3% of eye cancer cases). To read more on this paper and its implications, click here.

Dr. Chaugule’s second presentation concerned her paper most-recently published in the Indian Journal of Opthalmology. Titled “Primary Topical Chemotherapy for Giant Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia”, this paper examines and reports the outcomes of using topical chemotherapy eye drops (such as 5-Flurouracil and/or Interferon alpha-2b) to treat giant ocular surface squamous neoplasia. The paper was featured in a past blog post — to read more on the study, which evaluated 10 patients with stage T3 tumors, click here.


Details from AAO do not stop here! Stay tuned for more exciting news on the work ECF Fellows make towards eye cancer research by keeping in your bookmarks!

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