What is Yttrium-90 SIRT Therapy?
Yttrium-90 SIRT Therapy, or Selective Internal Radiation Therapy, is a treatment for cancers and tumours that are located within the liver. The aim of this treatment is to reduce tumour size in inoperable tumours or decrease the number of lesions in the liver. Occasionally this may lead to consideration for surgical removal of the tumours. This may also stabilise disease and prolong life.
How Does Yttrium-90 SIRT Therapy Work?
Yttrium-90 is an isotope emitting beta radiation, which is contained in millions of microspheres. When injected via the main blood vessels in the liver, the spheres become lodged in the smaller blood vessels surrounding the liver tumour/s. The radiation emitted damages the cancer cells that are present, reducing tumour size over time, and preventing further metastases.
Is this Treatment Safe?
The radiation used in this therapy is designed to damage and kill the cancer cells. As the Yttrium-90 travels to the tumour locations, it targets the unhealthy cells in the liver, and any damage to healthy tissue is kept to a minimum. The radiation in the spheres dissipates within a month. The spheres themselves are biodegradable, and once the radiation has dissipated, they are naturally broken down by the body. Possible side effects of this therapy are mild and may include occasional abdominal pain and flu-like symptoms, such as tiredness and nausea. A rare potential side effect of this therapy is swelling and ulceration caused by the spheres travelling to other parts of the body, such as the gallbladder, stomach, intestine, or pancreas. If this occurs, medical attention is required.
When Would I Consider Using this Treatment?
Yttrium-90 SIRT Therapy is a very specific type of treatment that, administered directly into the liver bloodstream, provides a novel alternative to more conventional forms of radiation therapy, which are delivered externally. Yttrium-90 SIRT Therapy is primarily for patients whose liver tumour/s are inoperable, due to the size, location and/or the number of tumours present. Yttrium-90 SIRT Therapy may also be considered for liver tumours no longer responsive to chemotherapy or used as an alternative to ablative therapy.
For more information, Download a copy of our Yttrium-90 SIRT Therapy Patient Information Guide (PDF).