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Am Surg. 2004 Nov;70(11):947-53.

Use of Yttrium-90 TheraSphere for the treatment of unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma.

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  • 1UC Irvine Medical Center, Orange, California, USA.


This is a retrospective analysis of a new treatment modality, intra-arterial administration of Yttrium-90 TheraSphere, for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Patients with HCC not amenable to surgical treatment who had satisfactory physiological function without comorbid disease or significant pulmonary shunting were eligible for treatment. Patients were categorized into complete, partial, or no response based on serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels and CT or MRI imaging. Fourteen patients were considered candidates for treatment. Three patients were excluded due to significant hepatopulmonary shunting. Eleven patients were treated with TheraSphere. One patient (9%) had a complete response, eight patients (78%) had a partial response, and two patients (18%) showed no response. Partial and complete responders with AFP-associated HCC demonstrated a median decrease in AFP levels of 79 per cent at 73 days. No patients developed liver toxicity nor died due to treatment. Five patients (45%) died of progressive disease at a median of 7 months post-treatment. Six patients (54%) were alive at a median of 11 months (range, 9 to 20 months). Okuda stage 2 and 3 patients showed a median survival of 11 months and 7 months, respectively. Yttrium-90 TheraSphere treatment for unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma is well tolerated and appears to extend survival.

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