The US Food and Drug Administration is announcing the approval of a new use for Lymphoseek (technetium 99m tilmanocept) Injection for patients with squamous cell carcinoma in the head and neck.
Lymphoseek is a radioactive diagnostic imaging agent used to help doctors determine the extent of cancer spread.
In 2013, Lymphoseek was approved to help identify lymph nodes closest to a primary tumor in patients with breast cancer or melanoma. Lymph nodes filter lymphatic fluid that flows from the body’s tissues. This fluid may contain cancer cells, especially if the fluid drains a part of the body containing a tumor. Through biopsy doctors can sometimes determine if a cancer has spread.
With today’s approval, Lymphoseek can now be used to guide testing of lymph nodes closest to a primary tumor for cancer, called a "sentinel" lymph node biopsy, in patients with cancer of the head and neck. This new indication will allow for the option of more limited lymph node surgery in patients with sentinel nodes negative for cancer.
"For some patients with head and neck cancer, removal and pathological examination of lymph nodes draining a primary tumor is an important diagnostic evaluation," said Libero Marzella, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Medical Imaging Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "To use Lymphoseek, doctors inject the drug into the tumor area and later, using a handheld radiation detector, find the sentinel lymph nodes that have taken up Lymphoseek’s radioactivity."
The most common side effects identified in clinical trial was pain or irritation at the injection site.
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