Radioembolization combines radiation therapy with embolization, a process that occludes the blood vessels within a tumor. This blocks the flow of blood containing the oxygen and nutrients necessary for a tumor to grow. The vessels are filled with miniature glass beads containing the radioactive isotope yttrium Y-90, which delivers a locally high dose of focused radiation.
This therapy is used to treat tumors that begin in the liver or have spread from other parts of the body to the liver. It is not a cure for cancer but rather can significantly slow or halt the growth of the disease. This can alleviate symptoms and can extend a person’s life from months to years. Radioembolization may keep some patients alive long enough to undergo a more curative option such as surgery or liver transplantation.
Radioembolizaiton is not recommended for patients with severe liver or kidney dysfunction, abnormal blood clotting or a blockage in the bile ducts.
This is a new service being offered at Upstate. To learn more, contact Mitchell Karmel MD, director of vascular and interventional radiology at Upstate, at 315-464-7439.