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Interventional radiologists: Tough on liver cancer, kind to patients
Date:10/19/2011

atients succumb to liver cancers that spread from other sites.

Many of these patients may be treated with Y-90 radioembolization. With Y-90 radioembolization treatment, radioactive microspheres (tiny beads) are injected through a catheter from the groin into the liver artery supplying the tumor. The beads become lodged within the tumor vessels, where they emit radiation locally that causes tumor cells to die. This technique allows for a very high local dose of radiation to be delivered, with little danger from radiation to the healthy tissues in the body, said Salem.

While radioembolization is palliativenot curativethe treatment benefits patients by extending lives and by improving symptoms and is associated with fewer side effects than traditional treatments for cancer. Interventional radiologists have long studied the use of intra-arterial (delivery of treatment via an artery) therapies for cancer and pioneered yttrium-90 radioembolization since its introduction in 2000 to treat liver cancer.

One study showed promising results in a group of 35 patients in whom the "thirsty tumors" had recruited blood vessels from outside the liver, a situation that interferes with complete delivery of Y-90 microspheres to the tumors, explained Sze. "These 'parasitized' blood vessels were successfully embolized, or closed off, before administration of Y-90 microspheres, reestablishing the blood supply from within the liver to enable the successful delivery of the microspheres to the targeted tumors," said Sze, senior author of "Embolization of Parasitized Extrahepatic Arteries to Reestablish Intrahepatic Arterial Supply to Tumors Before Yttrium-90 Radioembolization."

"While large, multicenter studies will be necessary to further confirm the proof of the concept, it is notable because the Stanford University researchers investigated the idea of simplifying blood supply in order to permit a direct injection of microspheres into the tumor," said
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Contact: Ellen Acconcia
eacconcia@sirweb.org
703-460-5582
Society of Interventional Radiology
Source:Eurekalert

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