Article Abstract

Safety of selective internal radiation therapy with yttrium-90 microspheres combined with systemic anticancer agents: expert consensus

Authors: Andrew Kennedy, Daniel B. Brown, Jonas Feilchenfeldt, John Marshall, Harpreet Wasan, Marwan Fakih, Peter Gibbs, Alexander Knuth, Bruno Sangro, Michael C. Soulen, Gianfranco Pittari, Ricky A. Sharma


Selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT) with microspheres labelled with the β-emitter yttrium-90 (Y-90) enables targeted delivery of radiation to hepatic tumors. SIRT is primarily used to treat inoperable primary or metastatic liver tumors. Eligible patients have usually been exposed to a variety of systemic anticancer therapies, including cytotoxic agents, targeted biologics, immunotherapy and peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT). All these treatments have potential interactions with SIRT; however, robust evidence on the safety of these potential combinations is lacking. This paper provides current clinical experiences and expert consensus guidelines for the use of SIRT in combination with the anticancer treatment agents likely to be encountered in clinical practice. It was agreed by the expert panel that precautions need to be taken with certain drugs, but that, in general, systemic therapies do not necessarily have to be stopped to perform SIRT. The authors recommend stopping vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors 4–6 weeks before SIRT, and restart after the patient has recovered from the procedure. It may also be prudent to stop potent radiosensitizers such as gemcitabine therapy 4 weeks before SIRT, and restart treatment at least 2‒4 weeks later. Data from phase III studies combining SIRT with fluorouracil (5FU) or folinic acid/5FU/oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) suggest that hematological toxicity is more common from the combination than it is from chemotherapy without SIRT. There is no evidence to suggest that chemotherapy increases SIRT-specific gastro-intestinal or liver toxicities.