Tracking Breast Tissue Tumor Cavity after Lumpectomy

Radiopaque biodegradable polymer for the tracking of the breast tissue tumor cavity after lumpectomy and other radiation therapy applications

The Need

Approximately 40% of women diagnosed with breast cancer undergo a lumpectomy procedure. Approximately 170,000 lumpectomie are performed each yaer in the United States. Typically, this operation is followed by radiation therapy to ensure there are no remaining cancerous cells in the region. It is the goal of the radiation oncology team to optimize the radiation such that it maximizes removal of potentially cancerous tissue while minimally affecting nearby healthy tissue. This can be facilitated by marking the region from which the tumor was removed for reference by the radiation oncology team. Currently available methods for marking the tumor region have a number of limitations and negative side effects. These commercially avaialble products do not biodegrade in the desired timeframe, and the negative side effects experienced by users include seromas, painful lumps, scarring, and itching. Additionally, these same commercially available products can shift location, resulting in a false target for radiation treatment.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University, led by Dr. Sandra Metzler and Roman Skoracki MD, have developed a novel medical consumable consisting of a biodegradable polymer mesh coupled with an embedded radiopaque agent. It has an increased surface area and a smaller volume compared to commercially available tumor cavity tracking products. The device can be customized to the specific geometry and size of an individual tumor. This allows for viewing via computerized tomography (CT) scan, accurately representing the boundaries of the tumor cavity.

Commercial Applications

  • Lumpectomies

  • Other radiation therapy applications including brachytherapy, treatment of the head and neck, cervix, prostate and possibly the eye


  • Improved biodegradability compared to the top commercially available product

  • Does not shift within the tumor cavity over time

  • Easily viewable via computerized tomography (CT) scan, accurately representing the boundaries of the tumor cavity

  • Personalized medicine: mesh can be 3D printed to allow for a custom mesh density and geometry that can be optimized for a specific tumor configuration

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