Druck Icon

The German Federal Chamber of Physicians and the Federal Association of CHI Physicians Confirm Effectiveness of Seed Implantation in the Treatment of Prostate Cancer

Berlin, 06.12.2005. In a joint scientific statement, an HTA (health technology assessment) report, the German Federal Chamber of Physicians and the Federal Association of CHI Physicians have confirmed implantation of small radioactive rods (seed implantation) to be an adequate alternative to conventional surgery with respect to prostate cancer. With reference to extensive retrospective studies, it is claimed that the seed implantation is not related to "any less favourable effectiveness-tolerance-relation" than surgical intervention (radical prostatectomy) or external radiotherapy. The data, which is based on long-term studies with follow-up observation periods of up twelve years, even confirm "possible benefits with respect to maintaining potency and urinary continence". Possible adverse effects are quoted as "rectal complications and urethral side-effects". The seed implant would "particularly" benefit patients with early stages of the cancer.

"We are not surprised by the results, as the method has long been established outside Germany", commented Dr Edgar Löffler, member of the Executive Board at Eckert & Ziegler AG and responsible for the therapy division. "The number of operations in the USA has been steadily decreasing over the last 15 years in favour of seed implantation, because there are considerably fewer side effects and treatment can be performed on an outpatient basis. This means the method is less expensive and long-term health costs are reduced".

Eckert & Ziegler AG (ISIN DE 0005659700) is one of Europe's largest manufacturers of low radioactive implants for the considerate treatment of prostate cancer. For years, the company has campaigned to have this patient-friendly form of treatment added to the catalogue of treatments for which German health insurance funds are willing to reimburse costs. While private patients have long had access to the treatment, slow and lengthy approval procedures have meant that the treatment is not yet an option for panel patients. Ambulant seed implantation has only been reimbursed by statutory health insurance funds since December 2003. The positive vote from the Federal Chamber of Physicians and the Federal Association of CHI Physicians now clears the way for incorporation of ambulant seed implantation into the standard benefits catalogue by the Federal Joint Committee.

The full HTA report can be downloaded at www.bundesaerztekammer.de/30/HTA/70b.pdf

The Board of Directors