Hepatic Vein Tumor Thrombus as a Risk Factor for Excessive Pulmonary Deposition of Microspheres during TheraSphere Therapy for Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Chad J. Fleming, James C. Andrews, Gregory A. Wiseman, Denise N. Gansen, Lewis R. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the impact of identifiable hepatic vein tumor thrombus on the ability to safely deliver TheraSphere (yttrium 90-containing glass microspheres) for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Materials and Methods: A retrospective review was performed of 87 patients (71 men, 16 women; mean age, 64.5 years; age range, 25-83 y) referred for TheraSphere therapy for HCC during a 2-year period between April 2005 and May 2007. Evaluation included contrast-enhanced computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, selective mesenteric angiography, and radionuclide perfusion scintigraphy to measure the arteriovenous shunting through the tumor. Results: Of the 87 patients, 83 underwent angiography and perfusion scintigraphy; 53 were ultimately treated with 65 glass microsphere infusions. Twelve of 83 were identified as having tumor thrombus in a hepatic vein or extending into the inferior vena cava. The mean lung shunt for the patients with hepatic vein tumor thrombus was 30% (range, 11%-60%), compared with 8.2% (range, 3%-23%) for patients without identifiable tumor thrombus. Two of the 12 patients were treated with reduced doses of glass microspheres, and the remaining 10 were offered alternative therapies. Conclusions: The presence of hepatic vein tumor thrombus is a risk factor for an increased lung shunt that may prohibit delivery of a therapeutic dose of TheraSphere to hepatic tumor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1460-1463
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this