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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Mar 1;67(3):786-92. Epub 2006 Dec 4.

A novel approach to brachytherapy in hepatocellular carcinoma using a phosphorous32 (32P) brachytherapy delivery device--a first-in-man study.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore.



While potentially very useful, percutaneously delivered brachytherapy of inoperable intra-abdominal solid tumors faces significant technical challenges. This first-in-man study is designed to determine the safety profile and therapeutic efficacy of a novel phosphorous (32P) brachytherapy device (BrachySil) in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma.


Patients received single percutaneous and transperitoneal implantations of BrachySil under local anesthesia directly into liver tumors under ultrasound or computed tomographic guidance, at an activity level of 4 MBq/cc of tumor. Toxicity was assessed by the nature, incidence, and severity of adverse events (Common Toxicity Criteria scores) and by hematology and clinical chemistry parameters. Target tumor response was assessed with computed tomographic scans at 12 and 24 weeks postimplantation using World Health Organization criteria.


Implantations were successfully carried out in 8 patients (13-74 MBq, mean 40 MBq per tumor) awake and under local anesthesia. Six of the 8 patients reported 19 adverse events, but no serious events were attributable to the study device. Changes in hematology and clinical chemistry were similarly minimal and reflected progressive underlying hepatic disease. All targeted tumors were responding at 12 weeks, with complete response (100% regression) in three lesions. At the end of the study, there were two complete responses, two partial responses, three stable diseases, and one progressive disease.


Percutaneous implantation of this novel 32P brachytherapy device into hepatocellular carcinoma is safe and well tolerated. A significant degree of antitumor efficacy was demonstrated at this low dose that warrants further investigation.

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