Phosphorous-32 is a pure beta emitter with a half-life of 14.3 days and is commonly used in the intravenous form as sodium phosphate. Because of the ubiqui-tousness of phosphorous in biological molecules, it was one of the first agents to be used in treating systemic cancer (particularly hematological) and effusions. However, P-32 therapy was also associated with significant hematologic toxicity. This coupled with the emergence of potent cancer chemotherapeutic agents, resulted in the waning of its use in clinical medicine. Today, it is the agent of choice for treating polycythemia vera, a malignant proliferative condition of the red blood cells. While it is rarely used in treating malignant effusions, the colloidal form (chromic 32P) has found widespread use in the control of benign pro-liferative conditions of joint synovium (21,22) and with some success in cystic brain lesions (5,23). Other novel ways of using P-32 include coronary stents impregnated with P-32 to prevent restenosis after balloon angioplasty in treating patients with coronary artery disease (24).
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