The physics of radioembolization

EJNMMI Phys. 2018 Nov 2;5(1):22. doi: 10.1186/s40658-018-0221-z.


Radioembolization is an established treatment for chemoresistant and unresectable liver cancers. Currently, treatment planning is often based on semi-empirical methods, which yield acceptable toxicity profiles and have enabled the large-scale application in a palliative setting. However, recently, five large randomized controlled trials using resin microspheres failed to demonstrate a significant improvement in either progression-free survival or overall survival in both hepatocellular carcinoma and metastatic colorectal cancer. One reason for this might be that the activity prescription methods used in these studies are suboptimal for many patients.In this review, the current dosimetric methods and their caveats are evaluated. Furthermore, the current state-of-the-art of image-guided dosimetry and advanced radiobiological modeling is reviewed from a physics' perspective. The current literature is explored for the observation of robust dose-response relationships followed by an overview of recent advancements in quantitative image reconstruction in relation to image-guided dosimetry.This review is concluded with a discussion on areas where further research is necessary in order to arrive at a personalized treatment method that provides optimal tumor control and is clinically feasible.

Keywords: Dose-effect relationship; Dosimetry; Personalized medicine; Radiobiological model; Radioembolization; Theranostics.

Publication types

  • Review