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Intra-arterial yttrium-90 microspheres may prolong survival and improve quality of life

-- Rick Ansorge

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 (Last Updated: 03/18/2010)

WEDNESDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- In many patients with liver cancer, radiology treatment with intra-arterial yttrium-90 microspheres (Y-90) may help prolong survival, according to research presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology, held from March 13 to 18 in Tampa, Fla.

Riad Salem, M.D., of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and colleagues studied 291 hepatocellular carcinoma patients who received a total of 526 Y-90 treatments.

The researchers found that overall time to progression was 7.9 months, and that survival times differed by cancer staging system: Child-Pugh (A: 17.2 months, B: 7.7 months) and Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (A: 26.9 months, B: 17.2 months, C: 7.3 months). They observed poor outcomes in Child-Pugh B patients with portal vein thrombosis (5.6 months survival). Toxicities included fatigue (57 percent), transient pain (23 percent), and nausea/vomiting (20 percent).

"This is encouraging news for liver cancer patients, especially those who also have blockage in the portal vein," Salem said in a statement. "While patients aren't cured, their lives are being extended and their quality of life is improving with yttrium-90 microsphere treatment."

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