Microspheres with ultrahigh holmium content for radioablation of malignancies

Pharm Res. 2009 Jun;26(6):1371-8. doi: 10.1007/s11095-009-9848-8. Epub 2009 Feb 25.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to develop microspheres with an ultra high holmium content which can be neutron activated for radioablation of malignancies. These microspheres are proposed to be delivered selectively through either intratumoral injections into solid tumors or administered via an intravascularly placed catheter.

Methods: Microspheres were prepared by solvent evaporation, using holmium acetylacetonate (HoAcAc) crystals as the sole ingredient. Microspheres were characterized using light and scanning electron microscopy, coulter counter, titrimetry, infrared and Raman spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, X-ray powder diffraction, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and X-ray computed tomography (CT).

Results: Microspheres, thus prepared displayed a smooth surface. The holmium content of the HoAcAc microspheres (44% (w/w)) was higher than the holmium content of the starting material, HoAcAc crystals (33% (w/w)). This was attributed to the loss of acetylacetonate from the HoAcAc complex, during rearrangement of acetylacetonate around the holmium ion. The increase of the holmium content allows for the detection of (sub)microgram amounts of microspheres using MRI and CT.

Conclusions: HoAcAc microspheres with an ultra-high holmium content were prepared. These microspheres are suitable for radioablation of tumors by intratumoral injections or treatment of liver tumors through transcatheter administration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calorimetry, Differential Scanning
  • Holmium / administration & dosage*
  • Holmium / chemistry*
  • Holmium / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hydroxybutyrates / administration & dosage
  • Hydroxybutyrates / chemistry
  • Liver Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Microspheres*
  • Particle Size
  • Pentanones / administration & dosage
  • Pentanones / chemistry
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman
  • Surface Properties
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Hydroxybutyrates
  • Pentanones
  • acetyl acetonate
  • Holmium