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What is yttrium-90 microsphere radioembolization?

Some patients who have extensive liver metastasis but little or no spread to other distant parts of the body may benefit from yttrium-90 microsphere infusion via the hepatic artery. For this treatment, a radiologist places a long, thin tube into an artery in the groin area and guides it into the hepatic artery, which supplies blood to the liver. The doctor then injects tiny glass beads that are coated with a radioactive atom (yttrium-90). These microspheres block some of the small blood vessels that feed the tumors and their radioactivity helps kill the cancer cells. Recent studies have found that this treatment can slow the growth of liver metastases, relieve some of the symptoms they cause, and help some patients live longer. This is an option to consider for some patients, but it is not recommended for others, such as people who had previous liver radiation or who have certain kinds of liver diseases.

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