SpaceOAR hydrogel is Now Available for Prostate Cancer Patients Being Treated at Arizona Oncology

July 21, 2016

Tucson, Arizona (July 21, 2016) - Arizona Oncology, a practice in The US Oncology Network, is helping to pioneer a new tool proven to protect prostate cancer patients from the negative effects of radiation therapy. SpaceOAR hydrogel is the first FDA-cleared spacing device to protect the rectum in men undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer.

SpaceOAR® hydrogel is a temporary injectable gel that protects the rectum in men undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer, decreasing the likelihood of side effects. It is intended to temporarily position the anterior rectal wall away from the prostate during radiotherapy for prostate cancer, creating space to protect the rectum from radiation exposure. Arizona Oncology is the first treatment center in Southern Arizona to adopt the advanced technology.

“Providing the best possible treatment to patients is our top priority, which is why we are one of the first centers offering SpaceOAR hydrogel,” said Curtis Mack, M.D., radiation oncologist with Arizona Oncology. “Creating space between the prostate and rectum is an important advance that significantly diminishes the rectal dose during radiation treatments, and thereby reduces the likelihood of side effects. Currently, I am using it on patients being treated with daily intensity modulated radiation therapy as well as those patients who choose brachytherapy (Seed Implant)."

Because of the close proximity of the prostate to the rectum, prostate radiation therapy always results in some radiation to the rectum causing side effects in some patients. The SpaceOAR System creates space and pushes the rectum away from the prostate and the high dose area. It is placed through a small needle, as a liquid, but quickly solidifies into a soft gel that expands the space between the prostate and rectum. The hydrogel spacer maintains this space fully for about three months by which time the radiation therapy is complete, then liquefies and is absorbed and cleared from the body by 6 months leaving no trace behind.

"I have found the space that is created to be between 7 and 12 mm, which is significant when you consider the normal 3 mm margin,” said Dr. Mack. “The availability of this product is essential for treating patients with stereotactic treatment where we deliver just 5 external treatments at a very high dose instead of the usual 39 to 44 treatments.”

According to the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute, prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men with an estimated 220,800 new cases and 27,540 deaths in the U.S. in 2015 alone. Worldwide, prostate cancer is expected to grow to 1.7 million new cases and 499,000 deaths by 2030.

FDA clearance was granted following completion of the SpaceOAR System prospective, multicenter, randomized clinical trial. SpaceOAR patients experienced a significant reduction in rectal radiation dose and severity of late rectal toxicity when compared to control patients who did not receive SpaceOAR hydrogel. The full pivotal clinical trial results have been published in the peer-reviewed Red Journal.

About Arizona Oncology

Arizona Oncology is one of the largest medical groups in Arizona. With more than 75 practicing physicians devoted exclusively to providing comprehensive, compassionate and high-quality cancer care, Arizona Oncology specializes in Medical, Gynecologic, and Radiation Oncology, Hematology, Stem Cell Transplant, Research, Genetic Risk Assessment and patient ancillary programs. The physicians and their staff treat patients in many communities throughout the state including: Chandler, Cottonwood, Deer Valley, Flagstaff, Glendale, Green Valley, Nogales, Oro Valley, Phoenix, Prescott Valley, Safford, Scottsdale, Sedona, and Tucson.

Arizona Oncology believes it is beneficial to provide cancer therapies in a community setting, close to patients' homes and support systems. The physicians are supported by a talented clinical team sensitive to the needs of cancer patients and their caregivers. For more information, visit

Arizona Oncology is united in healing with The US Oncology Network, one of the nation’s largest networks of integrated community-based oncology practices dedicated to advancing high-quality, evidence-based cancer care. As an affiliate of The US Oncology Network, Arizona Oncology is united with more than 1,000 physicians nationwide. Arizona Oncology participates in clinical trials through US Oncology Research, which has played a role in approximately 60 FDA-approved cancer therapies, nearly one-third of all cancer therapies approved by the FDA to date. For more information, visit

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