Yttrium-90 microspheres (TheraSphere®) treatment of unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma: Downstaging to resection, RFA and bridge to transplantation

Laura M. Kulik, Bassel Atassi, Lodewijk Van Holsbeeck, Tameem Souman, Robert J. Lewandowski, Mary F. Mulcahy, Russell D. Hunter, Albert A. Nemcek, Michael M. Abecassis, Kenneth G. Haines, Riad Salem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

275 Scopus citations


Purpose: To present the clinical data of 35 patients with T3 unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) that were treated with 90Y with the specific intent of downstaging to resection, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) candidate, United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) stage T2 or liver transplantation. Materials and Methods: One hundred fifty patients with unresectable HCC were treated with 90Y microspheres. Of these, 35 patients were UNOS stage T3 at the time of treatment. Patients were followed for clinical toxicities, alterations in model for end-stage-liver disease (MELD) score, tumor response, downstaging to RFA, resection, transplantation, and survival. Results: Nineteen of 34 patients (56%) were successfully downstaged from T3 to T2 following treatment. 11 of 34 (32%) patients treated were downstaged to target lesions measuring 3.0 cm or less. Twenty-three of 35 (66%) were downstaged to either T2 status, lesion < 3.0 cm (RFA candidate), or resection. Seventeen of 34 (50%) had an objective tumor response by WHO criteria. Eight patients (23%) were successfully downstaged and underwent OLT following treatment. 1, 2, and 3-year survival was 84%, 54%, and 27%, respectively. Median survival by Kaplan-Meier analysis for the entire cohort was 800 days. Conclusion: These data suggest that intra-arterial 90Y microspheres can be used as a bridge to transplantation, surgical resection, or RFA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-586
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Brachytherapy
  • Downstaging
  • Liver transplantation
  • Radioembolization
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Yttrium-90

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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