Y90 Therapy for Liver Cancer

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the liver, it is important to learn the facts and evaluate treatment options.

Of the nearly 140,000 Americans diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year, at least 60 percent will see their cancer spread to the liver, and many will die of this disease.

Radioembolization is a minimally invasive way of delivering therapeutic radiation to liver tumors, while minimizing the amount of radiation delivered to normal healthy liver.

The procedure, administered by the interventional radiology experts from Crouse Radiology Associates, is usually used when there are multiple tumors in the liver or when the tumor is too large to be treated by surgical removal, thermal ablation or external radiation.

Radioembolization can be used in combination with chemotherapy for more effective treatment. The source of radiation, Yttrium-90 (Y90), is baked into tiny resin beads, which are then delivered to the tumors through a catheter placed in the hepatic artery, the source of blood flow to the tumors. By contrast, a normal healthy liver receives its blood mostly from the portal vein, and is therefore spared by the radiation.

Side effects are generally minimal, and patients return home within hours after the procedure.