SIRT (Selective internal radiation therapy)

What is SIRT?


SIRT is targeted radiation treatment for cancer. 

It is typically used to treat solid organ tumors (the most frequent is the liver), which can’t be treated with other methods. 

In addition, it is a local therapy, which means it only affects cancer cells in the area where it’s given.

SIRT can be used independently or in conjunction with traditional surgery and chemotherapy.

The procedure’s goal is to cure or delay the progression of cancer. 


Who can have SIRT?


Cancer patients are candidates for SIRT if they have bowel cancer that has progressed to the liver (liver metastases). It can’t be removed with surgery, and chemotherapy is no longer working.


How is SIRT procedure done?


This technique uses a radioactive source called yttrium-90 in small beads through the bloodstream into the cancer-affected organ.

This procedure is done by an interventional radiologist using a catheter (a short tube) inserted into a blood vessel leading directly to the tumor. The radiologist will then administer the radiation-containing beads that have been properly prepared. When the beads land in the tumor, they emit a type of radiation energy that kills cancer cells within a limited radius.

Dr. Patrick Sutphin and Dr. Iqbal from Mass General Imaging discuss the stages of the operation in a simple and easy-to-understand manner in the video below. 

YouTube video


What are the risks?


While inserting the tube, there is a chance that the blood vessel will be damaged or bruised. The beads will harm normal tissues if they come into contact with them. 

Other side effects may occur as a result of removing the tumor. The patient may experience the following symptoms:

· Pain

· Fever

· Nausea

· Infection

· Chills

· Diarrhoea

· Stomach ache

· A feeling of abdominal pressure 


What does Medical Research say about SIRT?


SIRT has well-established clinical benefit data and expanding scientific evidence, according to a 2017 medical study. However, SIRT is only available at a few specialist centers with the necessary staff, equipment, and experience to deliver the complex multi-professional therapy approach. Concerns about radiation shielding and high expenses may deter using SIRT as a treatment alternative. SIRT has the potential to provide a personalized therapeutic strategy for liver tumors, allowing doctors to give the proper treatment dose to the right patient at the right time.

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