Interventional radiologists have been the leaders in the use of intra-arterial yttrium-90 radioembolization, since its introduction in 2000, to treat liver cancer. Now, new results from a large multi-institutional study show that treating liver tumors with higher doses of Y-90 than previously tried is safe, provides results when chemotherapies have failed, preserves the patient's quality of lifeand can be done on an outpatient basis. This study, presented by researchers at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 36th Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago, Ill., further validates previous findings on the safety and efficacy of liver cancer treatments using Y-90.
"We knew that this unique interventional radiology treatment, done on an outpatient basis, which combines the radioactive isotope Y-90 into microspheres (small beads about the width of five red blood cells) that deliver radiation directly to a tumor, was one of the best ways to give patients a treatment that doesn't harm healthy cells," explained Riad Salem, M.D., MBA, FSIR, professor of radiology, medicine and surgery, and director, interventional oncology, division of interventional radiology, department of radiology at Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill. "Now we know that patients can actually tolerate much higher doses of radiation than previously thought, which provides results in patients progressing on standard chemotherapy," noted Salem. "While patients aren't cured, their lives are being extended with less down time and their quality of life is improving," he emphasized.
The four-year prospective study looked at 151 patients (the group was 55 percent male, with an average age of 64 years) with liver metastases from colorectal, neuroendocrine and other cancers. In the United States, 20,000 cases of primary liver cancer are diagnosed each year. For metastatic colon cancer, that number is 150,000 per year. "The surgical removal of liver tumors offers the best chance for a
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Society of Interventional Radiology