WHAT IS RADIO-EMBOLISATION?
Radio-embolisation is a form of selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT). Radioactive microspheres are injected into the arteries supplying the tumour and preferentially lodge in the microvasculature of the tumour. This maximises the radiation dose to the tumour cells and minimises the amount of radiation dose to the normal liver tissue.
HOW IS RADIO-EMBOLISATION PERFORMED?
The procedure is split into 2 sessions: the work-up session and the treatment session.
During the work-up session, the arterial supply to the liver and the tumour are delineated with angiography. Any blood vessels potentially heading away from the liver may be blocked at this time in order to minimise non-target embolisation and improve safety. A low dose tracer (MAA) is then injected. This assesses tumour uptake to some degree and ensures that there is no unwanted uptake anywhere else (eg. lung or gastrointestinal tract)
During the treatment session, (normally 7-14 days after the work-up session), access to the arterial system is obtained via a small puncture in the artery at the top of the leg (the femoral artery). A small micro catheter is then advanced into the arteries supplying the liver. The radioactive beads are then injected and lodge in the micro-circulation of the tumour. This then emits radiation in order to kill the tumour cells.
WHO MAY BENEFIT FROM RADIO-EMBOLISATION?
- Patients with inoperable primary liver tumours
- Patients with inoperable secondary liver tumours
- Patients with tumour progression despite treatment
- Patients who need a “chemotherapy holiday” between lines of treatment