Analysis of the distribution of intra-arterial microspheres in human liver following hepatic yttrium-90 microsphere therapy

Phys Med Biol. 2000 Apr;45(4):1023-33. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/45/4/316.


The microscopic distribution of microspheres in human liver following hepatic infusion of 32 microm diameter resin microspheres labelled with 90Y as treatment for an 80 millimetre diameter liver cancer has been investigated. Microspheres were found to deposit inhomogeneously in tissues, preferentially lodging in a region approximately 6 mm wide around the periphery of the tumour. A relative concentration of microspheres of 50 to 70 times that of normal hepatic parenchyma and 65 to 94 times that in the tumour centre was measured in this region. The deposition of spheres in the tumour periphery was not uniform, and cluster analysis showed that the spheres could be classified into clusters. The number of microspheres in a cluster was skewed towards low numbers and cluster sizes varied from 20 to 1500 microm. The observed deposition patterns indicate that the vascular tumour periphery will receive much greater radiation doses from radioactive microspheres than both normal tissue and the avascular tumour centre.

MeSH terms

  • Arteries / metabolism
  • Arteries / radiation effects
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver / blood supply
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver / radiation effects
  • Liver Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Microspheres
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes / metabolism
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*


  • Yttrium Radioisotopes