A systematic review of yttrium-90 radioembolization for unresectable liver metastases of melanoma

Eur J Radiol. 2017 Jul:92:111-115. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2017.05.005. Epub 2017 May 4.


Purpose: To assess the effectiveness of yttrium-90 (90Y) radioembolization in the treatment of unresectable liver metastases of melanoma.

Methods: PubMed and EMBASE were systemically searched for all English language studies related to 90Y radioembolization for unresectable liver metastases of melanoma, including clinical trials, observational studies, and abstracts from conferences, published between January 1991 and March 2016.

Results: A total of 12 reports (7 observational studies and 5 abstracts from conferences) involving 255 patients were included in the analysis. The primary sites of melanoma were cutaneous (n=22; 8.6%), ocular (n=197; 77.3%), rectal (n=3; 1.2%), and unknown (n=33; 12.9%). The median disease control rate at 3 months was 73.6% (range, 58.3%-88.9%). Among the 207 patients for whom tumor response at 3 months was reported, complete response was seen in 1.0% (2/207), partial response was seen in 19.3% (40/207), stable disease was seen in 46.9% (97/207), and progressive disease was seen in 32.9% (68/207). The median survival was 10 months (range, 7-13.4 months), and the median 1-year survival rate was 34.6% (range, 23%-80%). Complications of 90Y radioembolization were reported in 13 cases. The most common side effects were fatigue (median, 36.1%), abdominal pain (median, 17.8%), and nausea (median, 15.0%).

Conclusions: 90Y radioembolization is a promising alternative therapy for the treatment of unresectable liver metastases of melanoma, with encouraging effects on disease control and survival. Some complications can occur, and side effects are frequent but mild.

Keywords: Liver metastases; Melanoma; Radioembolization; Yttrium-90.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Aged
  • Brachytherapy / methods
  • Embolization, Therapeutic / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Liver Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Melanoma / secondary
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea / etiology
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / therapeutic use*
  • Skin Neoplasms*
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes / therapeutic use*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Yttrium Radioisotopes
  • Yttrium-90