Treatment Targets Liver Tumors From The Inside

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - People with advanced liver cancer have a fairly new option for treatment available in Topeka.

It's called radioemoblization, or Y90

Dr. Timothy Allen, an interventional radiologist at Stormont-Vail HealthCare, says the treatment uses radiation, similar to what's used with external beam radiation, only the radiation is delivered from inside.

The procedure uses an xray to guide a catheter through the hepatic artery into the liver. Tiny beads filled with radiations are then injected and seek out the tumor, killing it.

Allen says the approach works for the liver because it has a dual blood supply. While the spheres work through the hepatic artery, the rest of the liver continues to be nourished through the portal vein.

The procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis. It is intended for patients who are not surgical candidates. Patients go home and the effect of the radiation continues over the next several months.

Allen said the procedure is meant for patients whose cancer is advanced and who've exhausted their options with chemo. He says it will not cure their cancer, but it has been shown to extend life expectancy by several more months or even years, while maintaining quality of life because the treatment has few side effects.

Patients will undergo a procedure to map the blood vessels before getting this treatment. In some cases, it may shrink the tumor enough so a patient could be a candidate for a liver transplant.