In the interventional radiology suite, physicians use Selective Internal Radiation Therapy to treat patients with inoperable liver cancer.
Physicians at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center are performing a new treatment for inoperable liver cancer known as Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT). SIRT is a non-surgical outpatient therapy that uses microscopic radioactive spheres, called SIR-Spheres®, to deliver radiation directly to the site of the liver tumors.
"SIR-Spheres deliver up to 40 times more radiation directly to tumors than would be possible using conventional external radiation," says William F. Regine, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and interim chair of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine. He adds, "SIR-Spheres selectively target tumors in the liver, regardless of their size or location, with a high dose of radiation, sparing the surrounding healthy tissue. The treatment has been shown to shrink liver tumors, increase life expectancy and improve the quality of patients' lives."
"As a comprehensive Liver Directed Therapies Program, it is important that all treatment options are considered and that non-surgical approaches such as SIRT be available to patients," says Nader Hanna, M.D., FACS, FICS, Chief of Surgical Oncology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and associate professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center physicians are very experienced at using microscopic beads to treat inoperable liver cancer. The University of Maryland was among the first in the nation to successfully perform TheraSphere- which used microscopic glass beads to deliver radiation to liver tumors-in 2000. SIR-Spheres, developed by the Australian firm Sirtex Medical and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002 for patients with primary colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver, is the latest of a wide range of liver-directed therapies the University of Maryland offers to best meet patients' needs. The University of Maryland has already established itself as a national leader of SIR-Spheres.
"We use sophisticated X-ray imaging to help guide the catheter into the hepatic artery and implant the SIR-Spheres. The procedure generally takes less than an hour, and patients tolerate it extremely well. Within two to six hours, they are ready to go home," says Patrick C. Malloy, M.D., director of vascular/interventional radiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and associate professor of diagnostic radiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
While treatment with SIR-Spheres is generally not regarded as a cure, it has been shown to shrink liver cancer more than chemotherapy alone. This can increase patients' life expectancy and improve their quality of life.
The Liver Directed Therapies Program at the University of Maryland includes a full array of treatment options for patients with primary/metastatic liver disease. In addition to SIRT and traditional surgical, chemotherapeutic or radiation approaches, treatment options include radiofrequency ablative therapy, chemoembolization and extracranial radiosurgery.
For more information, call 1-800-492-5538 or log onto http://www.umgcc.org/.