Selective Internal Radiation Therapy | Hackensack Meridian Health   

Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) 

Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT), also known as radioembolization, is a targeted radiation therapy for treatment of liver cancer and tumors. SIRT is delivered through a microcatheter into the hepatic artery, where the radioactive microspheres are carried into the blood vessels and selectively lodge in the tumor. 

The SIRT dose of internal radiation is up to 40 times higher than conventional external beam therapy while sparing healthy tissue. This maximizes the treatment’s effectiveness and reduces the risk of injury to the liver. 

Normal liver tissue takes about 90 percent of its blood supply from the veins, while liver tumors receive about 90 percent of their blood supply from arteries. This allows SIRT microspheres to target the liver tumors with a high dose of radiation and usually reduces liver tumors after just one treatment. 

Who is a Candidate for SIRT?

You may be a candidate for SIRT if:

  • You have liver cancer
  • Your liver cancer is not responding to chemotherapy
  • You are not a candidate for surgery

What to Expect From SIRT

During the procedure, an interventional radiologist makes a small puncture, usually into the femoral artery near the groin. A small flexible tube, known as a catheter is then guided through the artery into the liver and millions of microscopic spheres (about a third of the width of a human hair), are delivered directly into the tumor. 

The entire procedure takes about 90 minutes and is typically done as an outpatient procedure. Patients will be sleepy during the procedure but able to communicate with the doctor and the team. Most patients return home four to six hours following treatment.

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