The 188Re-Rhenium Skin Cancer Therapy or Rhenium-SCT® is a medical device that uses the ß-emitter rhenium-188 for the treatment of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). It uses a custom applicator to apply the rhenium-188 compound to the surface area of the lesion, previously covered with a protective foil, conforming to the unique shape and dimensions of each lesion. The beta radiation of 188Re only penetrates up to 3 mm depth, destroying cells up to that level and saving the underlying tissues. The Rhenium-SCT is approved for the treatment of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and is commercialized since 2017.
The rhenium-188 is bound to a fluid matrix or “compound” and filled in carpules. The irradiation dose is directly proportional to the duration of the treatment and, when taking off the foil on which the suspension has polymerized, the full radioactivity can be removed from the patient instantaneously.
The Rhenium-SCT offers an easy and painless alternative to surgery with optimal aesthetic outcomes and is therefore ideal for patients with BCC or SCC, who are ineligible or resistant to surgery, or patients with large lesions that are located in difficult to treat locations, in particular in the face, such as nose, ears, cheeks, and areas surrounding the eyes or lips. A Phase IV clinical trial (the EPIC-Skin study) has been initiated in 2021.
Target/Mechanism: Brachytherapy device – Direct external radiation
Leading Emitter: beta electrons (β–)