A prospective evaluation of treatment with Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIR-spheres) in patients with unresectable liver metastases from colorectal cancer previously treated with 5-FU based chemotherapy

BMC Cancer. 2005 Oct 15;5:132. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-5-132.


Background: To prospectively evaluate the efficacy and safety of Selective Internal Radiation (SIR) spheres in patients with inoperable liver metastases from colorectal cancer who have failed 5FU based chemotherapy.

Methods: Patients were prospectively enrolled at three Australian centres. All patients had previously received 5-FU based chemotherapy for metastatic colorectal cancer. Patients were ECOG 0-2 and had liver dominant or liver only disease. Concurrent 5-FU was given at investigator discretion.

Results: Thirty patients were treated between January 2002 and March 2004. As of July 2004 the median follow-up is 18.3 months. Median patient age was 61.7 years (range 36-77). Twenty-nine patients are evaluable for toxicity and response. There were 10 partial responses (33%), with the median duration of response being 8.3 months (range 2-18) and median time to progression of 5.3 mths. Response rates were lower (21%) and progression free survival shorter (3.9 mths) in patients that had received all standard chemotherapy options (n = 14). No responses were seen in patients with a poor performance status (n = 3) or extrahepatic disease (n = 6). Overall treatment related toxicity was acceptable, however significant late toxicity included 4 cases of gastric ulceration.

Conclusion: In patients with metastatic colorectal cancer that have previously received treatment with 5-FU based chemotherapy, treatment with SIR-spheres has demonstrated encouraging activity. Further studies are required to better define the subsets of patients most likely to respond.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use
  • Biopsy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / therapeutic use*
  • Gastric Mucosa / pathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Liver Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Male
  • Microspheres
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiotherapy / methods*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Fluorouracil