Radioembolization of symptomatic, unresectable neuroendocrine hepatic metastases using yttrium-90 microspheres

Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol. 2012 Apr;35(2):334-42. doi: 10.1007/s00270-011-0248-1. Epub 2011 Aug 17.


Purpose: To evaluate safety, efficacy, and symptom-control of radioembolization in patients with unresectable liver metastases from neuroendocrine tumors (NETLMs).

Materials and methods: Forty-two patients (mean age of 62 years) with treatment-refractory NETLMs underwent radioembolization using yttrium-90 ((90)Y) resin microspheres. Posttreatment tumor response was assessed by cross-sectional imaging using the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) and tumor-marker levels. Laboratory and clinical toxicities and clinical symptoms were monitored.

Results: The median activity delivered was 1.63 GBq (range 0.63-2.36). Imaging follow-up using RECIST at 3-month follow-up demonstrated partial response, stable disease, and progressive disease in 22.5, 75.0, and 2.5% of patients, respectively. In 97.5% of patients, the liver lesions appeared hypovascular or partially necrotic. The mean follow-up was 16.2 months with 40 patients (95.2%) remaining alive. The median decrease in tumor-marker levels at 3 months was 54.8% (chromogranin A) and 37.3% (serotonin), respectively. There were no acute or delayed toxicities greater than grade 2 according to Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events [CTCAE (v3.0)]. No radiation-induced liver disease was noted. Improvement of clinical symptoms 3 months after treatment was observed in 36 of 38 symptomatic patients.

Conclusion: Radioembolization with (90)Y-microspheres is a safe and effective treatment option in patients with otherwise treatment-refractory NETLMs. Antitumoral effect is supported by good local tumor control, decreased tumor-marker levels, and improved clinical symptoms. Further investigation is warranted to define the role of radioembolization in the treatment paradigm for NETLMs.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Digestive System Diseases / etiology
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / adverse effects
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • Fever / etiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Liver Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Male
  • Microspheres
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / diagnosis
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / radiotherapy*
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors / secondary*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes / administration & dosage*
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes / adverse effects


  • Yttrium Radioisotopes