Portneuf Health Partners

January 15th, 2018

New Hope to Patients with Metastatic Liver Tumors

bottle of y90 SIR-Spheres® microspheresUp to 70 percent of the some 140,000 Americans diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year will see their cancer spread to the liver, and most liver tumors cannot be surgically removed. Metastatic liver cancer is often fatal, with up to 90 percent of patients dying from liver failure. Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) has emerged as a treatment option for patients with colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver.

SIR-Spheres® microspheres or SIRT therapy has proved to be an excellent option for multiple types of cancer patients whose disease has spread to the liver and who are not candidates for surgery. SIR-Spheres microspheres are microscopic radioactive spheres that can be delivered by the millions directly to the tumor site. The microspheres contain the radioactive isotope yttrium-90 (Y-90), which delivers beta radiation to the tumor. The microspheres selectively target liver tumors with a dose of internal radiation up to 40 times higher than conventional radiotherapy while sparing healthy tissue.

“This is a powerful weapon against a very common place for cancer to spread,” says Jared Bailey, MD “In the past, in patients who can’t get surgery, we were able to offer patients few, if any, targeted treatment options. In the correct patient, SIR-Spheres microspheres have been proven to extend patient survival and, just as importantly, the treatment allows patients to maintain a good quality of life.”

Ongoing research continues to showcase the effectiveness of SIR-Spheres microspheres in treating patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, neuroendrocrine cancer, and hepatocellular cancer. Clinical studies have confirmed that certain patients with metastatic colorectal cancer treated with SIR-Spheres microspheres have response rates higher than with other forms of treatment, resulting in increased life expectancy, greater periods without tumor activity and improved quality of life. SIRT has been found to shrink liver tumors more than chemotherapy alone.

Under the direction of Dr. Jared Bailey, we began offering SIRT using SIR-Spheres® microspheres at Portneuf Medical Center in late 2017.The treatment is performed as an outpatient procedure by specially trained Interventional Radiologists and requires the placement of a catheter into the hepatic artery. Using the liver’s unique blood supply, millions of radioactive microspheres are selectively implanted into the tumor where they become trapped, killing tumor cells and sparing the surrounding healthy liver tissue.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with colorectal, neuroendocrine, or hepatocelluar cancer, you may want to speak to your provider about this treatment option.

Medically reviewed by: Jared Bailey, MD