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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Iodine-125 brachytherapy for brain tumours - a review

Silke B Schwarz1*, Niklas Thon2, Katharina Nikolajek1, Maximilian Niyazi1, Joerg-Christian Tonn2, Claus Belka1 and Friedrich-Wilhelm Kreth2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Radiation Oncology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Hospital, Marchioninistr. 15, 81377 Munich, Germany

2 Department of Neurosurgery, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Hospital, Marchioninistr. 15, 81377 Munich, Germany

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Radiation Oncology 2012, 7:30  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-7-30

Published: 6 March 2012


Iodine-125 brachytherapy has been applied to brain tumours since 1979. Even though the physical and biological characteristics make these implants particularly attractive for minimal invasive treatment, the place for stereotactic brachytherapy is still poorly defined.

An extensive review of the literature has been performed, especially concerning indications, results and complications. Iodine-125 seeds have been implanted in astrocytomas I-III, glioblastomas, metastases and several other tumour entities. Outcome data given in the literature are summarized. Complications are rare in carefully selected patients.

All in all, for highly selected patients with newly diagnosed or recurrent primary or metastatic tumours, this method provides encouraging survival rates with relatively low complication rates and a good quality of life.

Stereotactic brachytherapy; interstitial brachytherapy; seed; iodine-125; brain tumour