Microspheres Cancer Treatments in Hepatology
Microspheres (e.g. Yttrium-90 glass microspheres) are used in radiation treatment against liver cancer or as a bridge to surgery or transplantation. It is an intra-arterial, minimally-embolic therapy providing an approved treatment option of portal vein thrombosis patients, improved quality of life and re-treatment potential.
An embolic technology uses low compression microspheres that are negatively charged to adhere chemo agents at the site of the tumor. As a treatment for primary liver cancer, it is administered as off-label or investigational use. This treatment might offer an option for patients where resection of the liver tumor is not possible.
Both techniques are applied through a small, flexible catheter inserted through the femoral artery from a needle in the patient's groin. Interventional radiologists use x-ray guidance to snake the catheter into one of the major liver blood vessels and then into the branch that supplies the cancerous tumor. These treatments are often completed as an outpatient procedure, allowing a patient to return home typically the same day or next day.
A study showed that the risk of toxicity from the treatment appeared to be related to the patient's pre-treatment total bilirubin level and the mean liver radiation dose.
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Studies and publications on microsphere therapy in liver
- Clinical safety and efficacy of 90yttrium resin microspheres alone in unresectable, heavily pre-treated colorectal liver metastases: results of a phase II trial. Cosimelli M, Mancini R, Carpanese L et al. ASCO Annual Meeting Proceedings Journal of Clinical Oncology 2008; 26 (May 20 Supplement): Abs. 4078.