RADIOEMBOLIZATION (transarterial radioembolization – TARE or selective internal radiation therapy – SIRT)
This method is used to treat liver cancer by injecting into the hepatic artery radioactive isotopes such as lipidol labeled with iodine-131 (131 J) or yttrium-microspheres - 90 (90 Y). During the operation, millions of radioactive microspheres are inserted into the selected site, which are blocked in the small arteries that supply the tumor emitting highly energetic but weakly penetrating beta radiation. The advantage of radioembolization, in contrast to external radiotherapy, is that it only affects the diseased tissue and produces a therapeutic effect within the lesion leaving the healthy tissue intact. The treatment can be performed only in the centers with appropriate technical background and experience.
Radioembolization is a palliative procedure most often used in advanced stages of liver cancer. It is performed in patients with non-operative primary liver tumors and non-operative liver metastases from other cancers: breast cancer, colorectal cancer and others. The treatment is the only treatment available in the cases of no efficacy or exclusion of chemotherapy. The condition for the procedure of radioembolization is normal function of the remaining liver flesh. The presence of intravascular vascular fistulae should also be excluded.
The treatment is performed once, when the disease involves one liver lobe or is repeated several weeks later in case of seizure of two liver lobes. The patient's stay in the hospital is usually 2 days and the treatment takes about 45 minutes. Radioembolization is usually well tolerated by patients. Postoperative abdominal pain, fever or moderate nausea and fatigue persist for up to a few weeks.