Yttrium-90 microspheres: a review of its emerging clinical indications

Liver Cancer. 2015 Mar;4(1):6-15. doi: 10.1159/000343876.


Background: Many patients with liver malignancies are not candidates for resection, and systemic therapies are often not effective. Radioembolization (RE) is an alternative treatment for this group of patients. The safety and efficacy of RE with yttrium 90 (Y90) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or metastatic colon cancer to the liver have been proven in several studies. However, fewer studies have focussed on the safety and efficacy of RE with Y90 in other extrahepatic primary and secondary liver cancers. The effect on outcomes of concomitant use of Y90 with a systemic therapy is still currently under investigation.

Summary: A review of the published data on the use of RE as stand-alone, concomitant or sequential with other treatment modalities in HCC and other primary and secondary liver cancer is reported here.

Key message: RE for the treatment of HCC and other extrahepatic, primary and secondary liver cancer has reasonable efficacy and acceptable toxicities. Definitive studies to establish the role of RE in the treatment of such malignancies are warranted.

Keywords: Cancer; Emerging indications; Treatment; Yttrium-90.

Publication types

  • Review