Whitmore, Henschke, and Hilaris: The reorientation of prostate brachytherapy (1970-1987)

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Radiation Oncology



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Brachytherapy; History, 20th Century; Humans; Male; Prostatic Neoplasms


Neoplasms | Oncology


PURPOSE: Urologists had performed prostate brachytherapy for decades before New York's Memorial Hospital retropubic program. This paper explores the contribution of Willet Whitmore, Ulrich Henschke, Basil Hilaris, and Memorial's physicists to the evolution of the procedure.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Literature review and interviews with program participants.

RESULTS: More than 1000 retropubic implants were performed at Memorial between 1970 and 1987. Unlike previous efforts, Memorial's program benefited from the participation of three disciplines in its conception and execution.

CONCLUSIONS: Memorial's retropubic program was a collaboration of urologists, radiation therapists, and physicists. Their approach focused greater attention on dosimetry and radiation safety, and served as a template for subsequent prostate brachytherapy programs.

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Citation: Brachytherapy. 2012 Mar-Apr; 11(2):157-62. doi: 10.1016/j.brachy.2011.03.003 Link to article on publisher's site

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