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Heterogeneity of microsphere distribution in resected liver and tumour tissue following selective intrahepatic radiotherapy

Journal article
Authors Jonas Högberg
Magnus Rizell
Ragnar Hultborn
Johanna Svensson
Olof Henrikson
Johan Mölne
Peter Gjertsson
Peter Bernhardt
Published in EJNMMI Research
Volume 4
Issue 48
ISSN 2191-219X
Publication year 2014
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Radiation Physics
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Surgery
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Oncology
Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Pathology
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Radiology
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Language en
Keywords Radioembolisation, Y-90, SIR, Surgery, Activity heterogeneity
Subject categories Clinical physiology, Pathology, Cancer and Oncology, Radiology, Radiological physics, Surgery


BACKGROUND Selective arterial radioembolisation of liver tumours has increased, because of encouraging efficacy reports; however, therapeutic parameters used in external beam therapy are not applicable for understanding and predicting potential toxicity and efficacy, necessitating further studies of the physical and biological characteristics of radioembolisation. The aim was to characterise heterogeneity in the distribution of microspheres on a therapeutically relevant geometric scale considering the range of yttrium-90 (90Y) β-particles. METHODS Two patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, marginally resectable, were treated by selective arterial embolisation with 90Y resin microspheres (SIRTEX®), followed 9 days post-infusion by resection, including macroscopic tumour tissue and surrounding normal liver parenchyma. Formalin-fixed, sectioned resected tissues were exposed to autoradiographic films, or tissue biopsies of various dimensions were punched out for activity measurements and microscopy. RESULTS Autoradiography and activity measurements revealed a higher activity in tumour tissue compared to normal liver parenchyma. Heterogeneity in activity distribution was evident in both normal liver and tumour tissue. Activity measurements were analysed in relation to the sample mass (5 to 422 mg), and heterogeneities were detected by statistical means; the larger the tissue biopsies, the smaller was the coefficient of variation. The skewness of the activity distributions increased with decreasing biopsy mass. CONCLUSIONS The tissue activity distributions in normal tissue were heterogeneous on a relevant geometric scale considering the range of the ionising electrons. Given the similar and repetitive structure of the liver parenchyma, this finding could partly explain the tolerance of a relatively high mean absorbed dose to the liver parenchyma from β-particles. Keywords: Radioembolisation; Y-90; SIR; Surgery; Activity heterogeneity

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