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Hepatology. 2010 Nov;52(5):1741-9. doi: 10.1002/hep.23944.

Radioembolization with yttrium-90 glass microspheres in hepatocellular carcinoma: European experience on safety and long-term survival.

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Department for Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany.


Radioembolization has been demonstrated to allow locoregional therapy of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma not eligible for transarterial chemoembolization or other local therapies. The aim of this study was to validate evidence of the safety and efficacy of this treatment in a European sample of patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Therefore, 108 consecutive patients with advanced HCC and liver cirrhosis were included. Yttrium-90 (Y-90) microspheres were administered in a lobar fashion over the right or left branch of the hepatic artery. The response to treatment was evaluated by computed tomography (CT) imaging applying Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) and World Health Organization (WHO) criteria with recent European Association for the Study of the Liver / National Cancer Institute (EASL/NCI) amendments. Time to progression (TTP) and overall survival were estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method. In all, 159 treatment sessions were performed ranging between one to three treatments per patient. The mean radiation dose per treatment was 120 (± 18) Gy. According to EASL criteria, complete responses were determined in 3% of patients, partial responses in 37%, stable disease 53%, and primary progression in 6% of patients. TTP was 10.0 months, whereas the median overall survival was 16.4 months. No lung or visceral toxicity was observed. The most frequently observed adverse events was a transient fatigue-syndrome.


Radioembolization with Y-90 glass microspheres for patients with advanced HCC is a safe and effective treatment which can be utilized even in patients with compromised liver function. Because TTP and survival appear to be comparable to systemic therapy in selected patients with advanced HCC, randomized controlled trials in combination with systemic therapy are warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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