Radioembolization (Yttrium-90 Treatment) is a procedure designed to treat cancers in the liver.  During the procedure, a catheter will be placed in a vessel in the upper thigh.  Using X-ray, the catheter is advanced into the blood vessel in the liver.  Once the catheter is placed, small particles are injected to teat tumor.  Attached to the particles are Yttrium-90 radiation particles. 

The radiation delivered to the liver is thought to selectively target the tumoral tissue rather than normal liver.  This is based on the normal blood flow of the liver and tumor itself.

What types of cancer are treated with radioembolization?

  • Primary liver cancer (Hepatocellular carcinoma)
  • Metastatic liver cancer
  • Colon
  • Neuroendocrine
  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Breast
  • Pancreas
  • Kidney
  • Head and neck

How effective are the treatments?

Radioembolization is not a curative treatment.  Similar to chemotherapy, it is designed to increase the patient’s life expectancy and improve cancer related symptoms. 

What are the side effects?

Most commonly, patients may experience fatigue.  Abdominal pain and nausea are other common procedure related side effects.  Rarely, patients may develop liver failure, ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract, and/or vascular injury from the procedure.

How long is the procedure?

Two or three outpatient procedures are usually required.  Each procedure usually lasts less than 2 hours followed by a 4 hour observation period.  At the end of the observation period, patients are discharged home.

How long is the hospital stay?

All procedures are same day procedures and require no overnight hospital stay.

How long is the recovery time?

Many patients experience fatigue which can last for days to weeks. 

Can this therapy be performed along with chemotherapy?

For most patients, chemotherapy can be delivered concurrently with the procedure.  The treating interventional radiologist will work with the oncologist for appropriate scheduling.

Make an Appointment

For more information or to schedule an appointment with an interventional radiology specialist, call our scheduling line. 

Phone: 202-444-5478

Appointment hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m