Radioembolization is the delivery of radioactive microspheres to cancers using an endovascular approach. It is often performed as an outpatient procedure.
- excessive hepatopulmonary shunting (results in radiation pneumonitis)
- demonstrable gastrointestinal shunting (results in gastric ulceration)
- hepatic and/or renal dysfunction
- previous hepatic irradiation
- portal vein thrombus
- portal venous hypertension
- typically a transfemoral intra-arterial catheter with the tip near the target lesion
- nuclear medicine specialists prepare the radioactive (e.g. yttrium-90) microspheres (~32 microns), which when injected are implanted in the microvascular arterial supply of the tumor where they become trapped
The spectrum of yttrium-90 is ~2.7 days, with no remaining radioactivity after one month.
Treatment and prognosis
The overall survival rate of almost 13 months with radioembolization. Mortality ranges from 0.6% to 6% at 30 and 90 days, respectively in high-risk groups.
The most common adverse events are:
- nausea and/or vomiting
- abdominal pain