Another minimally invasive cancer treatment at South Florida Vascular Associates is radioembolization using yttrium 90 (Y90) beads. This treatment is most commonly used for more advanced stage liver cancer (primary or metastatic) where chemoembolization or percutaneous ablation procedures are not suitable.
This procedure involves placing a catheter from an artery in the groin or arm into the artery supplying the liver. Radioactive beads are then administered into the lobe of the liver with the tumor(s). The beads contain Y90, which is highly radioactive but only delivers high energy radiation less than ½ inch (1 cm) from where the beads are deposited. Therefore, tumors and surrounding liver tissue receive high doses of therapeutic radiation while nearby organs are spared.
Radioembolization is effective for metastatic liver cancer (cancer that has spread to the liver from a primary tumor elsewhere) and hepatocellular carcinoma. It has also been applied to cholangiocarcinoma and other cancers, as well.
Radioembolization may be used in conjunction with other cancer treatments, such as surgery and chemotherapy. It may be used to shrink large tumors down to a size that will allow for surgical removal, or used along with chemotherapy to maximize the destruction of cancer cells. Radioembolization may also be used as a stand-alone treatment for patients who are not candidates for surgery or whose liver cancer is not responsive to chemotherapy.
Radioembolization is well-tolerated and can be performed on an outpatient basis by an interventional oncologist in a hospital setting.