Predictors of response to radio-embolization (TheraSphere®) treatment of neuroendocrine liver metastasis


  • This manuscript was presented at the IHPBA 2010 meeting in Argentina.

M. F. Shaheen, McGill University Health Center – Surgery, 687 Pine Ave West, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1A1, Canada. E-mail:


Background:  Neuroendocrine tumours (NET) frequently metastasize to the liver. NET liver metastasis has been shown to respond to Yttrium-90 microspheres therapy. The aims of the present study were to define factors that predict the response to radio-embolization in patients with NET liver metastases.

Methods:  From January 2006 until March 2009, all patients with NET liver metastasis that received radio-embolization using TheraSphere® (glass microspheres) were reviewed. The response was determined by a change in the percentage of necrosis (ΔN%) after the first radio-embolization based on the modified RECIST criteria (mRECIST) criteria. The following confounding variables were measured: age, gender, size of the lesions, liver involvement, World Health Organization (WHO) classification, the presence of extra-hepatic metastasis, octereotide treatment and previous operative [surgery and (RFA)] and non-operative treatments (chemo-embolization and bland-embolization).

Results:  In all, 25 patients were identified, with a median follow-up of 21.7 months. The median age was 64.6 years, 28% had extra-hepatic metastasis and 56% were WHO stage 2. Post-treatment, the mean ΔN% was 48.4%. Previous surgical therapy was a significant predictor of the response with a response rate of 66.7 ΔN% vs. 31.5 ΔN% (P= 0.02). Bilateral liver disease, a high percentage of liver involvement and large metastatic lesions were inversely related to the degree of tumour response although did not reach statistical significance.

Conclusion:  Radio-embolization increased the necrosis of NET liver metastasis mainly in patients with less bulky disease. This may imply that surgical therapy before radio-embolization would increase the response rates.